Beta Tools, a well established tool name in Europe, has been making waves in the U.S. in the last year. The company, established in 1939 in Italy, has gained a following in the U.S. since Columbia, Pa.-based Peerless Hardware began importing Beta's 10,000-product tool line to warehouse distributors in the U.S. Current distributors include Tool King (Denver, Colo.), Unique Truck Equipment (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies (New Berlin, Wis.).
The product line includes a full line of professional hand tools, tool kits, containers, wire rope accessories, pneumatic tools, safety foot wear and work wear. The company produces tools in Sovico, Castiglione d'Adda and Sumona in Italy and employs a staff of 550 worldwide.
"We signed an agreement with Beta Tools of Italy in late March of 2012," noted Nick White, national sales manager of Peerless Hardware, which has been manufacturing custom metal components since 1951. "We knew this was the tool of choice for the professional tool users in Europe for decades, but we weren't sure how the American market would accept it. We were really surprised by the positive response."
White said Peerless will consider adding more warehouse distributors for the Beta product line. Distributors are not given exclusive territories.
In addition to warehouse distributors, Beta Tools has an e-commerce site, www.betatoolstore.com.
White pointed out that the tools are made for the professional user, not the do-it-yourselfer.
"Our focus was to get the brand out there for people to see and make it accessible to the professional tool user," White noted. "The challenge has been to maintain the inventory to keep up with demand because the response has been overwhelming. So each month, based on customer interest, we have been expanding the list of core items that we stock here in the U.S."
"Our distributors already stock hundreds of Beta Tools items for immediate delivery but we also make the entire product line of non-stock items available through our special-order program," White said. "While this has a longer lead-time, it does not cost the customer any additional costs to have it shipped from Italy."
Beta Tools is following a marketing strategy that worked in Europe that includes aggressive media advertising. The company has also exhibited at some trade shows in the U.S. and is looking at exhibiting at shows that draw a nationwide audience.
"Whenever Beta Tools is shown on television, the number of people contacting us about Beta Tools increases," said Peter Speitel, vice president of Peerless Hardware. "Since Beta participated in the making of the new Ron Howard film, 'Rush,' we believe this will introduce the Beta brand to the U.S. majority for the first time. We are getting ready for a rapid increase in new customers after the movie opens in September. We are aware that Beta has strong competition in the high-quality tool market here, but based on our initial responses, we believe that the unique design of Beta will appeal to a large market segment here because it is so different."
James Speitel, president of Peerless Hardware, said, "Our company is unique because we are not fixed on one industry. Our customers have always been from a variety of different industries. This allowed us to effectively connect Beta Tools into these various industries such as mining, oil and energy, marine and ship building, aerospace, industrial supply, racing supply and now the auto tech industry."
For information on Beta Tools, go to www.beta-tools.com.