VP Supply Corporation in Rochester, NY is a premier supplier of parts to industries ranging from plumbing, heating and air conditioning, kitchens and baths to renewable energy. VP Supply Corporation was purchased in March of 1965 by Marv Miler and Elliot Curwin as a single location wholesale plumbing supplier. In 1987, it moved to its current headquarters in The Design Center in Henrietta New York, where builders and contractors can come to purchase materials from multiple trade disciplines.
In 1997, Elliot Curwin’s sons Gary and Louis agreed to purchase the company from Marv Miller. They, along with Gary Perkins, took over leadership and have since expanded the business to fifteen branches. VP has been in operation for over fifty years thanks in part to its many repeat clients. We spoke with Jay Didas, VP Supply’s Director of Renewable Energy, to find out more.
VP Supply does everything from selling materials to helping with business strategies and creating complex designs to training and even on-site support. The average VP customers are professional installers for residential or large commercial properties.
The company approaches its customers as partners. It is the success of these partnerships that leads to the success of VP Supply. “It’s not just about the initial sale. It’s about establishing long-term relationships and trying to help customers grow by best meeting their needs. VP Supply has assembled talented teams to strategically work with companies in order to understand their business models and provide outside perspective and support.”
We asked Jay about the potential threat of big box stores to VP Supply and were a little surprised by his answer. “Big box stores have provided VP Supply with an opportunity,” he says. “The situation meant the company had to focus on its business’ skills and goals to be competitive. Big box stores serve the retail side of the business and mainly sell to homeowners. VP Supply on the other hand, supports professionals who install a range of projects from residential systems to very intricate commercial systems.
“It is our ability to provide this support that sets us above and beyond the big box stores,” he explains. “Within the ranks of VP Supply, we have truly talented professionals who have been in the industry for years. They can tackle any project because they have both the experience and the support structure of VP Supply.”
Because big box stores focus on homeowners, their products are targeted for the mass markets. VP Supply differentiates itself by providing products for both the mass markets, and specialty industry products used by professional installers. “It is this ability to support our professional contractors that allows them to provide the highest quality installations for end users,” says Jay.
“The beauty of our business model is in our knowledge focused approach. We employ professionals who know the industry and products like the back of their hand. So when a customer, contractor or partner comes to us, we can provide design support, training support and even installation support. Big box stores just can’t do that at our level. With our ability to offer more than one product or service, we can hit almost every aspect of what a customer needs and that separates us from our competitors.”
As the building trades have advanced, there has been an increased emphasis on energy efficiency and the environment. As a result, VP Supply developed a team to support renewable energy and efficiency through its branches, allowing its partners to confidently move into this arena.
“About seven years ago, VP Supply decided to expand into the renewable energy market and created the VP Supply Renewable Energy Division. This division has focused on selling and designing solar, geothermal and other renewable energy-related products.”
In the Renewable Division, there is far more than just one product offering to consider. The company has the ability to offer multiple products from solar panels and geothermal heating/cooling, lighting and even high efficiency heating options. Its focus is to find the best solution to reduce overall energy consumption for the end user.
As a society, we have changed our views on why energy efficiency matters and the impact we have on the environment. It is this social change that is making renewable energy in demand more than ever before. “I do see it expanding over time,” says Jay. “As the product and the technology improve, I see the market growing along with it.”
Years ago renewable energy was not distributed traditionally through local brick and mortar businesses. Instead, much of it was bought and sold nationally over the internet. Many of these national companies offered these products little to no product support. VP Supply wanted to create a situation in which customers could buy quality products locally and have the expertise and support along with it.
“We believe renewable energy and energy efficiency are important today and will continue to be in the future. As a result, we are committed for the long haul to provide the products, services and local support from our in-house professionals.”
Certainly there is more competition in the field of renewable energy than there was even five or six years ago. While some took a wait and see attitude, those who became established in the marketplace early on have done very well with it.
It is clear that VP Supply cares about its customers and the products that are being sold to them. “As more people enter the market our commitment to providing quality products and services remains steadfast. We are confident with our expertise, product support and partnerships with our professional installers, that we will be a contributor to the success of the industry.”