In business since 1993, Fab Supply reflects on how it all began while remaining focused on core values essential to its success.
There’s an ever popular anecdote about a bar napkin business plan, but Fab Supply’s beginnings were a bit more hook, line and sinker.
On a fishing trip in Canada with a good friend in the manufacturing industry, John Wold was airing frustrations about his current line of work when his friend, Dan Provenzano, presented him with an opportunity.
Dan had another friend who was making press brake tooling and was looking for someone to start representing the product in the United States; the two inevitably teamed up to kickstart what is now Fab Supply.
Fairly new to the industry, John knew he needed a bit more knowledge as he launched into this business.
“The next thing I did was spend a year working on a press brake,” he said, splitting his waking hours between his pre-existing work and this new business dream.
The company’s first FabTech show was exciting: more than 30 companies approached their table and committed to more than $400,000 in purchases. Unfortunately, due to concern about the dimensional differences with the tooling commonly used in the US at the time, distributors were hesitant to fulfill their end of the commitment.
“I worked independently state by state with phone calls and direct mail and started to sell the product. That is when the dealers were able to see that we had a viable product line,” John said. “That’s when we were able to engage the dealer network.”
Fab Supply went into business focused on core values that still hold today, such as superior customer service and quick response times. There’s proof of these values in the many long-term relationships that started from day one and still exist today.
“We get customers that will call in an absolute panic because they have parts due, and they realize they don’t have the tool to make the part. I personally have gone over to the UPS hub at 7:30 pm at night to drop off tools, if we can help customers, we’ll do it.”
Dan and John partnered in business for 10 years, launching out of his facility and building on these core values. The company also has many foundational employees who have been key to its growth, working for the company for 15 to 30 years.
“I think one of the most satisfying parts of this business is when we can come in and develop a solution that increases productivity and decreases production costs. Sometimes it is as simple as coming up with a clever design on an interchangeable set of tools,” John said. “At this point our product lines have expanded to where we can offer the appropriate tooling at a competitive price without overselling customers – it gives us the unique ability to sell to the application as opposed to selling a choice to a customer.”