By Paul Lonardo
Americo “Rico” Colaluca opened Smithfield Plumbing & Heating Supply in Greenville in 1975 to provide the industry he worked in since he was 15 with the high quality products he sought on the job.
Colaluca founded his own wholesale company because many suppliers sold poor quality and high priced supplies that didn’t meet his own exacting standards.
The “old school” values instilled in Colaluca by his hard-working father became the cornerstone of the company’s success. ‘The customer is the most important person in the company’ is a mantra the employees of this Smithfield company hear often, and it is this ideal that the newest member of the Smithfield Supply family was brought in to not only ensure that attitude continues, but also bring the business to another level.
Mike Davis, who was hired as the company’s Showroom Manager this past October, came from a long background in manufacturing. This declining industry, which as we all know has fallen on hard times in recent years all across the nation, has seen massive job losses and diminishing employment opportunities, and was what eventually led Davis to Smithfield Plumbing & Heating Supply.
“After 25 years in manufacturing, I had to find myself a new career,” Davis says, “It was time to move on, so I elected to go into the service industry.”
Davis had previously worked for a Massachusetts company that represented manufacturers and marketed products to the New England plumbing and heating industry, including distributors such as Smithfield Supply, so he had gotten to know everyone there pretty well, including the owner, Rico Colaluca. When a position opened up at Smithfield Supply, Davis heard about it and seized the opportunity.
“I knew of their situation with regards to the showroom,” Davis says. “They had gone through a transitional period, including management changes, so I knew they were looking to do something at some point in time, I just didn’t know what the time frame was.”
Davis waited to see what would happen, and when he learned that the company he worked for was going through its own organizational restructuring, he approached Rico and his son, Aaron, about the Showroom Manager position at Smithfield Supply and how he might be able to help out.
Davis’ experience calling on showrooms and supply counters, as well as the direct dealings he had with plumbers, contractors and builders, and his relationships among architects, engineers and designers for so many years, made him a natural fit and he was hired.
Just a few months on board, Davis’ plan right now is simple, but important, as he looks to spread the word about Smithfield Supply.
Davis says, “The message we want to send is this is who we are, this is where we are, and this is what we can do for you. We’re looking to get the message out there that we’re available to provide expert, professional personal service, including working with the smallest to the largest remodeling jobs, both kitchen and bath.”
Going forward, the new Showroom Manager says he is looking to do some upgrading to the showroom and updating the product line to reflect the needs of the present market.
“My goal,” Davis says, “in addition to getting the word out to the public, is to begin going out and getting directly involved with organizations like the Rhode Island Home Builder’s Association, and build relationships with its members, in terms of what we can do collectively to help them with their projects. And also, reach out to our existing customer base, the plumbers, builders and contractors, to see what we can do to better the relationship we have with them and grow that base, as well.”
With all the discount warehouses like Lowes and Home Depot popping up, the competition for business is fierce.
“We have to offer something they can’t,” Davis says of all the do-it-yourself stores. “We provide that personal touch. And the other benefit we have is if you have an issue with a product, we’re here to help in any way we can, including locating and obtaining replacement parts to keep the product going, as opposed to having to change it out in a short period of time.”
When it comes to remodeling, Smithfield Supply created a niche in the market, and a product line specific to the needs of both consumers and contractors.
Smithfield Plumbing & Heating Supply caters to all of Rhode Island, eastern Connecticut, and eastern Massachusetts, from Concord, New Hampshire to southern Maine and northeastern Vermont. They have three locations in New Hampshire, as well as the two in Rhode Island that include the corporate office/ warehouse and the Your Kitchen & Bath Showroom in Greenville.
For More Information Visit: www.smithfieldsupply.com or call Your Kitchen & Bath at 349-3588.