Rancho Dominguez, California-based master distributor Industrial Valco recently held a grand opening for its newest location in Stone Mountain, Georgia, located about 20 miles north of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
“This is a game-changer for us,” Industrial Valco’s Director of Marketing Jim Wakeham told Supply House Times during a tour of the facility in early October. “This is the final part that will let us be what we want to be in the U.S., which is providing a quick turnaround for all our customers nationwide.”
The Stone Mountain, Georgia location is Industrial Valco’s eighth in the U.S., joining branches in Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Concord (California), Chicago, Bakersfield (California) and Philadelphia-New Jersey.
The Georgia facility is amongst the company’s largest with space covering 83,000 square feet in warehouse footprint and inventory that reaches 28 feet high. “It’s the highest of any of our racks, including Houston and Los Angeles,” Wakeham said. “We will stock the traditional cast-steel, forged-steel, iron valves, butterfly valves and ball valves. On the fittings and flange side, anything from a half-inch to large OD up to 48 inches and above. We have domestic, import and approved import. We have everything covered here.”
Wakeham said the company’s focus continues to revolve around the word “speedability.” “That is our mantra,” he said. “For our customers that means in-stock, error-free shipments, ready for pickup for shipping in two hours or less. That is our competitive advantage. We have to be smart with everything we do and that means having it in stock, being error-free and doing it in two hours or less. We want that word ‘speedability’ to also be part of our employees’ ‘thinking.’”
The Georgia location features industrial PVF industry veterans Kate Rathbun and John Tatum, who have a combined 60 years of experience in the industry. Vern Preston is the operations manager.
“When we decided to come to the south we wanted to commit the resources necessary to support such a large market,” Wakeham said. “The reason we came to Georgia is simple. We want to make sure one-day shipping is available to everybody in the continental U.S. Now with this presence here, we are able to do it.”
Wakeham said the Georgia branch will differ from the master distributor’s other seven locales because of a more robust shipping presence. “The majority of what is being sold here is being shipped,” he explained. “With our other seven branches the majority is sold through our will-call business. Hopefully, we’ll have a big will-call business here in Georgia as well, but we will be doing much more on the shipping side.”
Wakeham also showed off the Georgia location’s brand-new office area, which includes electronically movable desks that allow employees to either stand or sit at their work areas. The office area also features the company’s traditional cardinal color (as a shout out to its theme color and USC/California roots) and a grey-silver motif that goes with the industrial PVF theme.
In other company news, Wakeham noted Industrial Valco is moving closer to the full launch of its eCommerce site, www.IVALCO.com, which he expects to be firing on all cylinders by the end of the year.
“We want to make sure everybody has access to our inventory 24-7,” he said. “Not a lot of other companies in our industry are going after that. We’ve started to really understand what our customers want. It’s going to be mainly for quick turnaround items and any sort of spec sheets or catalogs people need. IVALCO.com will mimic an Amazon/Google drop-down box and it will be very easy for people to go in there and order.”
— Mike Miazga reporting from Stone Mountain, Georgia