The Jobsite Supply facility in downtown Indianapolis is, according to Jobsite decorative concrete manager Ryan McCreery, "a one-stop shop for concrete contractors." In fact, for any shopper curious enough to traipse through the trio of connected warehouse-style buildings, a 35,000-square-feet spread that take up three city blocks, the store is concrete heaven.
Jobsite's all-inclusive business plan is apparent from the inventory, which ranges from rebar, wire mesh and precast concrete lifting products to specialty tools, safety equipment and concrete accessories. At Jobsite Supply, decorative concrete enthusiasts have, at their fingertips, an expansive amount of resources for polished stamped and stained flooring, overlays and microtoppings, integrated color systems, sealers, tools and much more.
The history of Jobsite Supply began in 1986, when a company called Chicago Contractor Supply sent Peter Molloy, a bright and ambitious 21-year-old kid with college degrees in general business, marketing and management, to head up the aptly named Indianapolis Contractor Supply. Eight years later, Molloy and business partner Tom Hotwagner bought the operation from the parent company and changed the name.
It was upon Malloy's introduction to Solomon Colors' radical new liquid color pigment machine in about 1998 that he made what he calls "a pretty bold decision" to get into liquid color distribution and to bring the first system to the state of Indiana. "Rick Solomon showed me a map with the locations of his machines pinpointed," he says. "There were maybe 20 of them in California and only two in the Midwest â€¦ one had just shipped to Chicago and the other was at his manufacturing plant in Springfield, Ill."
To put it another way, powdered and bagged pigment was only being used in "about half of one percent of concrete applications in the Midwest, and zero percent of that was liquid pigment," Molloy says. And yet he felt that the liquid had ridiculous advantages over powder in terms of uniformity of color and mix time. So why wouldn't liquid color take off in the Hoosier state?
Just like that, Molloy and partner were in the DC business.
Today, Hotwagner heads up the Engineered Products Group - the shoring and forming products operation - while Molloy oversees general sales from the downtown Indianapolis location, across Missouri Street from Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home of the Indianapolis Colts.
With some 50 employees, including up to a half dozen devoted to inside sales and five more working outside sales, Jobsite Supply is sized to sell to walk-in contractors and end users throughout the state and beyond. "We've had customers from Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, all over the Midwest," Molloy says.
The company's newest building, no more than a half mile from the retail location, provides an additional 20,000 square feet of space for the company's Engineered Products Group and classrooms to house the company's extensive training pursuits.
Jobsite Supply's commitment to education for contractors includes offering safety training programs, decorative concrete training, and forming and shoring classes. It's all conducted through standards established by the Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association (IRMCA), a regional trade group.
On top of that, customers also need a good knowledge base, suggests McCreery. "There's a lot of variability in dealing with naturally mined substances like concrete, so buyers have to know that if they're looking for an exact color match, it's not going to happen."
That means ensuring that the sales staff has, in McCreery's words, "set the correct expectations of customers" regarding the various substances, finishes and other factors that affect color matching. That's just one of the points made during semiregular after-work Wednesday-night employee training sessions.
Another way of making sure that the retail customer leaves the store happy is to encourage a sample pour or mock-up before proceeding. The theory is that it's better for everyone to be taken off guard by a yard or two of stamped and stained concrete than to wait until it's time to review a 12-by-20 rec room or a batch of countertops installed in a newly remodeled kitchen.
"A lot of customers don't want to take on the time and cost of doing it right, but it's a whole lot costlier and more time-consuming to skip the sample pour and get it wrong," notes McCreery.
When sample pouring, he tries to avoid shortcuts. "We want our customers to let us use the same mix design, the same products and the same process they're going to use when actually doing the job. It all factors into the final outcome."
Like a landscape left for nature to carve out its contours, Jobsite Supply seems to have grown naturally into its current layout. But McCreery is not entirely satisfied with the results. "Our display is an area we want to improve," he says.
It doesn't look to be in such need. With its high ceiling, retail signage and wide aisles of brightly lit product display cases, Jobsite Supply immediately introduces itself to shoppers as a single-source big-box-style concrete specialty center. It's a floor that draws DIY walk-in traffic, as well as contractors, with a layout that looks professional, clean, inviting and easy to navigate.
"It's important to have nice displays and completed project photos, not just marketing materials," McCreery says in describing his merchandising philosophy. "Our goal is to be knowledgeable and able to demonstrate applications and show customers what they're going to get."
Products that move especially well on the sales floor at Jobsite Supply include acrylic sealers, acid stains and color hardeners.
The next step in the evolution of the operation, says Molloy, is to "continue to leverage our position in the Midwest by utilizing our knowledge through training and education for our customers and by offering the best products available throughout the country. We're committed to bringing those top-notch products to Indiana and making them available to the market."
Among other things, that means starting to set up a subdealer network across the country. Molloy and Hotwagner have only taken baby steps in that direction for now, but who knows? Maybe in the next 10 years, Jobsite Supply will become the Wal-Mart of decorative concrete.