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Sullivan Brings Personal Touch to Saw Blade Sales

Tue August 30, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Roger Sullivan knows contractors hate getting phone calls from people trying to sell them something.

He knows it so well because he spent a few years doing it for a saw blade distributor.

That’s why, when he went out on his own in 1999 and founded Sullivan Diamond Co., Sullivan pledged he would never again become one of those people spouting an annoying sales pitch on the other end of the line.

The Jupiter, FL, company, which also has an office in Westfield, NJ, sells a variety of blades to contractors in the paving, masonry, utility and landscaping industries.

In order to get his company’s name out there, Sullivan, as well as his brother, Gerry, and father, Roger Sr., hit the pavement and visited contractors at job sites and trade shows.

That way, Sullivan said, a potential customer is able to get a feel for his product and he, in turn, can view first hand why they need a blade.

“That concept has carried us for the last six years,” he said.

His former company scoffed at the idea of marketing their products in person and wanted to stick with phone sales. “I knew right then I could be entrepreneurial.”

Sullivan entered the construction industry as a laborer for carpentry and masonry firms. He said his boss would send him out to buy new blades.

“When I bought the wrong thing, I’d be yelled at,” he recalled.

Sullivan admits there are less expensive blades on the market, which has drawn customers away from his company from time to time. “If we do lose them temporarily, they do come back.”

Sullivan Diamond sells its products to clients from Hawaii to Puerto Rico. The blades are manufactured in a plant in Irvine, CA, and are generally delivered from Jupiter, although the New Jersey location is able to handle small orders.

Depending on the material through which the contractor will be cutting, Sullivan can have blades specially made. Asphalt requires a harder alloy in the blade to hold the diamond chips to increase its lifespan. On the other hand, concrete blades use a softer alloy to reduce the amount of “bounce.” The alloy takes up approximately 70 to 75 percent of the blade — the rest is diamond.

Sullivan said the steel core of his blades are one-eighth in. thick, which is more than most others on the market.

Business for Sullivan Diamond has been “steady,” he said.

He was hesitant to look into the future, as the company’s continued success rests firmly in the hands of the construction industry. With population booming in the South, Sullivan expects to gain more clients there, but other parts of the country don’t offer the same positive outlook.

Sullivan said he’ll try to fight against the effect of an economic downturn by maintaining a product with integrity.

“By keeping it simple, we’re able to focus on what’s important,” he said.

For more information, call 877/729-3335. CEG Staff

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