After beginning his career as a manufacturers rep selling product for Hammond Valves and Tyler Pipe, Joseph Martin started importing his own mix of products (including toilets and basket strainers) in the 1980s. But his true breakthrough occurred when he began importing valves from Italy. After discovering that a distributor had to stock several varieties of valves, Martin later created one that would meet all codes — a product that remains a market mainstay to this day for Warren, Mich.-based Jomar Valve.
pme recently traveled to Warren to visit with Jomar Valve President and CEO Paul Craig and Vice President of Operations Adam Stier. Craig and Stier discussed a number of topics including Jomar’s wide breadth of product offerings, the company’s continued growth and the 50th anniversary it is celebrating this year.
pme: What new innovations has the company debuted of late to best help its customers?
PC: Jomar has always had a group of unique products, but it’s more than just having the best products at the best price. More importantly, we focus on our five-point mission statement: 1. Build products with a brand people can trust; 2. Support the product with knowledgeable, technically trained service and sales staff; 3. Stand behind the product should problems occur; 4. Deliver the product on time; and 5. Provide the most economical value at the best price.
AS: Our focus is on our product lines and providing more value, something that cannot be commoditized. The numbers show we’ve more than doubled and are close to tripling what we offer. That can be attributed to our product line, our improved marketing efforts and the team we have here. Is there a smoking-gun product that has taken us to the next level? Probably not, but we clearly are winning market share because of our ability to be more nimble in the marketplace.
pme: What product category in the line has seen the biggest growth of late?
PC: In the early 1990s, Jomar introduced a line of lockwing ball valves to be used on natural-gas meter sets, before and after the meter. The natural gas industry, typically slow to change, has come to understand the benefit of a brass ball valve vs. cast-iron plug valves. Jomar has enjoyed steady growth in this market and now is one of the market leaders for valves in this application.
On the wholesaler/distributor side of our business, our patented tankless water heater installation kit is steadily growing, largely because of its user-/installer-friendly design and Italian quality. As distributors continue to seek opportunities for growth in commercial markets, our hydronic balancing products are getting more recognition.
These products, traditionally sold direct to contractors through buy/sell reps, now are being offered to distributors to complete their commercial product offering. Lastly, our industrial and automation business, once restricted to the “big three-related work,” is now growing through our PVF wholesaler-distribution network and through our propane gas network. Another thing that makes us unique is our strength in both the natural gas and LP industry.