A Chat with John Economaki, Founder and President, Bridge City Tool Works
Being fair with people. We've always tried to behave. One of the big problems I had with the bank is that here we are; we've got this world-class product and then on a business level, we weren't able to behave in a world-class fashion with our customers. Part of that came from being undercapitalized, but I just think that if you're fair and honest and straightforward and [communicate] in a manner that's consistent with what you do, that's a positive thing.
CS: What goals do you have for the catalog now? What will you do to get there?
JE: We really have to redo our Web site. It's old, and we're missing many opportunities. The day is coming when we will cease using snail mail as our primary marketing medium. Our biggest change will be a more comprehensive effort to educate, which fuels the demand curve. We certainly have no visions of grandeur, which is likely the healthiest way to grow this business.
The little formula that we've got going now, with new product introductions and "sneak previews," people get excited about that. There's always something new coming out of our facility. I think that's what we're known for right now. This is an exciting thing for people. You probably don't know this yet, but when you get to be about 45 or 50 and you've been working your tail off, and you've got your house and kids, most guys go, "Now what?" And guy's aren't notorious shoppers. This is a pretty common thing for me. At Christmas time, when I go shopping for my family, I usually end up buying a bunch of stuff for myself. I don't go shopping very often, and when I do, I see things I want. Then you bring it home and everyone's upset with you because you didn't tell them you wanted it. But I didn't know I wanted it until I saw it.