G&S Sales Inc.
G&S Sales makes sure it has the products its customers need.
By Alan Dorich
There is strong competition in the Salt Lake City market, but G&S Sales Inc. is not worried. “We’re absolutely at what we feel is the top of the heap,” President Clay Smith says. “We’re the biggest agency here.”
The manufacturer’s representative serves the plumbing and irrigation sectors. G&S Sales started operations in 1990 when Bill Godwin and John Schultz merged their companies, BBG and Associates and JWS Sales.
“[They] figured they could go a lot further together,” says Smith, who joined the company as an outside salesman in 1999. “We’ve done nothing but grow since then.”
Back to the Basics
Today, Smith is the sole owner of G&S Sales, which has a 42,000-square-foot warehouse and 17 full-time employees. He credits its success to its “back-to-the-basics” philosophy of forming strong relationships with clients.
“We like to have the most people out in the street doing sales calls to our primary customers, who are wholesale distributors,” he says. These include Ferguson Enterprises Inc., WINNELSON, Consolidated Supply Co., Keller Supply Co., Standard Plumbing Supply, Petersons, Hajoca, Great Western and Mountainland.
G&S Sales also visits its wholesalers’ clients, including contractors. “We’ve figured out that if we’ve got contractors going into wholesalers and telling them what they want to buy, our job becomes easier,” Smith says.
On Its Own
G&S Sales is investing in its operations. “We’re changing out some of our lift trucks, so they can handle the products coming on intermodal,” Smith explains. “They’re no longer palletized, but just sitting in the trucks.”
The company also is building its own truck fleets “to get the trailers from the intermodal yards to our customers and back,” he says. “We’ve been digging into that and getting close to making that happen.”
Previously, G&S Sales often hired LTL providers to deliver products. But now, “The LTL guys are getting to the point where they’re having a hard time to keeping up with us,” he says. “We’re terrified there’s not going to be enough trucks from both coasts to keep up.”
The company recently bought two trucks. “That’s a huge leap,” he admits, adding that the company is still reviewing all options. “Either we’re going to have to find somebody to do it for us, or do it ourselves.”
A Phenomenal Staff
G&S Sales strongly values its team. When the company saw a drop in the construction market in 2009 and 2010, it was determined not to lay off a single employee or cut their wages, Smith recalls.
Instead, its owners took pay cuts and dug into the company’s savings to keep everyone employed. “We always felt that we’re in it for our employees as much as anybody,” he says.
He praises his entire team, which includes outside salespeople who “have been in the industry even longer than I’ve been in it,” Smith says. “They’re all extremely good.”
The company’s inside team includes Office Manager Debbie Christensen, Cesar Ayala and Ryanne Baker. Its Outside Sales Team that calls on the plumbing and irrigation wholesalers consists of:
* Tom Kuntz, who is based out of Boise, Idaho, and has been with G&S for 13 years now;
* Ed Konopka has worked for manufacturers and wholesalers as a sales manager;
* Bret Beesley, who takes care of a lot of the company’s tool and specialty customers;
* Vince Orton, who calls on engineers and mechanical contractors; and
* Kam Gray who joined G&S Sales last year after working in the commercial laundry industry.
Kevin West, who manages the company’s Hydronic and HVAC departments, is a key member. “He trains a lot of people on the way to do the hydronic heating and snow melt systems,” Smith says.
Smith predicts more success for G&S Sales. “Our strategy is to keep doing what we’ve always done: make the sales calls and make sure they understand doing business with us is a good way to go,” he says.
The company will continue to ensure its facility is well stocked. “When the end-user needs it, it’s right here to go,” Smith says, noting that its facility is in the heart of Salt Lake City. “It’s really makes it nice for our customers to get products in a hurry.”
Smith plans to turn over G&S Sales to its employees. “I’m 50 now, and I’ve got a dozen more years left,” Smith says. “Hopefully, it’s going to be a lot bigger than when I took it over.”