The idea of creating a division for water heaters began in December 2008 by Mike Jacobs and the VP of Sales Jim Bresnahan. Mike began hitting the road 3 days a week calling on contractors, working in the branches with inside sales and counter staff. He assigned and trained inside salespeople at each branch location handling commercial products and our full-service delivery teams. He taught them how to qualify the customers and close the sale. In 2010, he had help from Anthony Marlow who assisted him on seeing customers, supporting account managers to drive water heater sales. Once they built up a commercial team, they took over the residential tank and warranty process. They had 400 floating credits many over a year old. Therefore, Mike built a warranty department to make sure customers were getting taken care of and credits issued in a timely matter.
Then Mike was able to take the tankless product category into the division. As the years went on, Mike built a team and had them operating out of our Stockton branch. Mike’s goal was to build something no other suppliers had, offering a service no others can offer, to ultimately be the leader of water heating in the markets we serve. The division became one of the top support arms in the organization. It took a tremendous load off the branches and outside sales team. We moved into the Stockton Regional office where they had a inside sales team and warranty department. Again, no other suppliers in the market have a division dedicated to water heating products. In late 2020 during the ongoing pandemic. John Alkire was brought in to assist Mike with sales, strategy and scaling the division. We ended up building out a growth model that was put into execution in 2021.
This led to our vision statement created in late 2020 which is “PACE Supply is the leading brand for water heating products and solutions in all the markets we serve.” Now are we that today, no but everything we do drives around this statement. But the most important thing we needed to figure out is how do we become the brand?” When our value and services exceed our competitor’s brands and price, we become the brand.
Therefore, we needed to produce a strong value proposition and services we can offer our customers, that allowed us to supersede anyone’s brand preference or price points. We already had a division, which was unique to the market. We had a talented inside team, a warranty department, a 24/7 commercial delivery team. But we needed to expand our value. But first, we needed to build a sales arm beyond the phone calls into the division in Stockton. We developed Business Development Managers (BDM’s). They are the professional sales members who support account managers, branches, and customers directly. They are trained in a sales process to come in and close new customers. In addition, be factory certified to conduct product trainings for our customers.
This allowed us to create training programs for various products to offer to the contractors at their shops or at branches. We created a technical support team that can provide immediate assistance for customers who were having problems on installs. We developed the PACE Points program from a concept on the conference wall in December 2020 and launched to the market in May of 2021. This program was the first of its kind for PACE Supply and created more mindshare for our customers and an enhanced buying experience. We began leveraging our marketing department to do stickers for the customers branding themselves on the water heaters with their company information. We added a sales training program to offer our customers to help them close more jobs and generate revenue.
Today, we have created a scalable sales model that has been very successful and built to replicate wherever our footprint expands. In 2021-2022 it allowed us to grow 40% in sales, 25% market share impact in over in 2 years. We also have trained over 1,700 technicians and over 70 different plumbing companies and enrolled over 300 customers in our PACE POINTS program. We are completely disrupting the plumbing wholesale space by offering a one stop shop experience for our customers. No supplier in our market or the country is doing what we are doing. We are slowly becoming the brand for water heating products and solutions in the markets we serve, and we will not be satisfied until we are. We will continue to innovate and challenge the status quo.