Now in its 13th year of doing business, Cordova Safety Products bills itself as a “one-stop shop” for a wide variety of safety products, ranging from hand protection, disposable wear and protective eyewear, to safety vests, dust masks and rubber boots.
Himanshu and Anita Varma founded the company in 1994 in their home in a suburb of Memphis, Tenn., under the name Cordova Glove. (The name of the suburb, by the way, is Cordova, hence the company name.) Himanshu Varma had extensive safety product purchasing experience and utilized that experience to source products and get the ball rolling for the company.
While Cordova’s corporate offices and main distribution facility are located in Memphis, the company has expanded to include a distribution facility in City of Industry, Calif., to service West Coast customers. Cordova sells in both the industrial and retail markets and sells exclusively to distributors.
“Our strategy has been to sell exclusively to distributors and offer a one-stop shop for all safety products,” says Jimmy Garbuzinski, vice president of sales. “Our mission is to provide quality products that meet or exceed the customers’ expectations in both reliability and value. Everything in our company is customer-driven â€” you can say that we are ‘customer-centric’.”
Cordova Safety Products, which moved into a new state-of-the-art 250,000 square-foot sales and distribution facility in Memphis in February, 2006, started out selling protective gloves. Now, the list of products it supplies includes rainwear and boots, safety eyewear, disposable clothing, safety vests, respirators, back support belts and barricade tape.
“All of these product additions were driven by customer needs and our need to diversify,” says Garbuzinski. “They are set apart from the competition because they provide value and reliability. Most of our distributors come to us. They have heard good things about our products and our people. They know that we can help them be more successful.”
Primarily an importer, Cordova boasts strong sourcing capabilities, says Garbuzinski. “I am constantly amazed by our employees’ ability and willingness to help our customers solve their problems and grow their business. For a medium-sized company we source product as well as any of our bigger competitors. We can compete with anyone in both quality and price.”
Garbuzinski asserts that the company’s differentiation comes from its flexibility and “ease in doing business.”
“We design programs to meet our customers’ needs with their input and direction,” he says. “This helps us develop a mutually beneficial partnership where both companies can meet their goals.”
Working with distributors
Cordova works very closely with its distributors, providing product training at either its facility or the distributor’s location. The company can do end-user calls if necessary, says Garbuzinski, but most of its sales efforts are done in-house by reps that handle geographic areas.
Cordova looks for distributors who are full-line safety suppliers. Distributors need to spend at least $24,000 annually with Cordova and have good credit to become an authorized distributor, according to Garbuzinski. The company also offers specialized programs for its customers whose annual purchases exceed $250,000.
While Cordova chooses not to reveal its annual sales revenue, Garbuzinski insists that “sales are definitely up. We achieve that growth with one-third coming from existing business, one-third from new product additions and one-third from new distributors. This has been our formula for success.
“Our plans are to stay on the same growth pattern and surpass $50 million in sales very soon,” says Garbuzinski. “We will continue to diversify our product offering to meet customer and market demand. We are committed to providing the highest product quality and excellent customer service at the most affordable prices.”
Cordova Safety Products, www.cordovaisc.com, (800) 458-8763