Cast a 'wide net'; distributor sells tools to shoe repair shop

In the February 2011 issue of Professional Distributor, Cornwell Quality Tools dealer Joe Gruba mentioned how important it can be to search for new opportunities or different ways of doing things. 

He has been selling to a diverse clientele in and around the Portland, Ore. area for almost nine years, and some of his stops include heavy duty truck and equipment shops, plant nurseries, automotive and body shops. 

But a shoe repair shop? 

In this case, the new business opportunity found him. The owner is "an elderly fellow, a really neat guy," and according to Gruba, The Shoe Repair and Saddlery Shop is located in a small, rural town, right on the "main drag." 

"Years ago he saw my truck in town and called me. He asked me to come by," said Gruba. "He had some Cornwell tools he needed to have warrantied and it’s been from that point that we built a relationship on," said Gruba. 

According to Gruba, the owner of the shoe repair shop has purchased tools for the store, which include, "some heat guns, little butane torches, punches, things like that."

He has been purchasing Cornwell tools for years. Initially and still, he makes many purchases for his at-home use. "He started in the automotive industry and the trucking industry. I think he was in the military at one time. He tinkers at home with anything from paint guns and hand tools to flashlights."

This customer, even though a little out of the ordinary as far as tool stops go, is very consistent.

"He’s a 40-dollar payment every week. He keeps his balance around 200 bucks or so. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less," said Gruba.