A Chat with John Economaki, Founder and President, Bridge City Tool Works
CS: What's your definition of success?
JE: I am one-half of a parent team that can claim two intelligent adult children who are living and leading responsible lives. I'm a guy with two kids, and they've caused me no problems, and they're self-sufficient for the most part. I think that's a huge deal. Looking back, there's nothing more important to me than that. It's a scary world out there, and to know that they can find their way around, that's a big deal to me. Do I think that someday my son will want to make stuff? I think he will. He's starting to see that I'm not the nerd he once thought I was.
If you want to limit it to business, I say that in 150 years, I think there will be people who still cherish what we've made. Looking backwards at what people cherish now, I can't see that not happening. In the history of woodworking tools, there hasn't been another company who's done what we've done; consistently make a product of the caliber and quality we've made. Maybe that's over the top, but I don't think so. I think that the joy of something well made is an important thing.
CS: What about the catalog business appeals to you?
JE: Early on, the simple act of receiving money in the mail was alluring—then the bills started to arrive, so that became less enjoyable. I truly love our customers though. The vast majority are smart, successful, passionate and darn interesting.