Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – Italy’s Fontana Opens U.S. Warehouse

August 28
00:00 2010

By Dick Callahan

January 27, 1982 FIN – Italy’s Fontana Luigi Spa is mounting a strong fastener marketing effort in the U.S. through a new wholly owned subsidiary, Fontana Distribution, Inc. The Italian company, which has international fastener sales in the $220 – $240 million range, has been in the U.S. market for three or four years but it was barely getting its feet wet.
Now it has an 18,000 sq ft warehouse at 513 Viking Drive, Virginia Beach, VA. 23452.

General manager of the new operation is Grant Baird, formerly general manager of the Bulten International and Ramnas Products divisions of Kenthal Corp.

Baird told FIN that Fontana “really hadn’t been able to get into the market until they had a distribution center. We should probably be full steam ahead by the first week in February.”

The U.S. operation will carry about $1 million worth (at manufacturer’s cost) of inventory. The product line carried will be stocked in depth. It will carry both metric and U.S. standard threaded dimensions, grade 5s and grade 8s, hex cap screws, sockets, nuts, stainless steel in metrics, 2H nuts, hex flange bolts and some other items along these lines.

“Our main thrust,” Baird told FIN, “is that, as opposed to other importers, we are only selling products that we manufacture. They are head market for complete traceability. We will be a constant source of supply for quality products.”

Marketing will be through distributors whom Fontana will reach through manufacturers reps. Distribution will be nationwide and Fontana already has plans to open distribution centers in the Midwest, the Far West and the Southwest. “This is a very major investment for them,” Baird said.

Asked if he isn’t afraid of entering a market that seems overcrowded already, Baird said, “It may be overcrowded at the moment because of conditions in the economy. It may be overcrowded in terms of the number of sources of supply from high quality manufacturers. There are just a lot of people who have disappeared from the scene.”

Noting that only a small part of Fontana’s broad line will be brought into the U.S., Baird said. “We will not try to be all things to all people, but we are going to try to fill that special niche where people need the quality and traceability of the product.”

Another advantage such a company has over many importers is the financial resources of the parent, which can be vital in maintaining an importer’s inventory, “We are very strong financially,” Baird says, “and I’m sure none of this inventory represents borrowed money.” Somewhat similarly, Japanese trading companies have bought U.S. importers who were having trouble maintaining inventory. He is optimistic. He figures that by the time the new operation completes its shakedown, the economy will have turned around.  ©1982/2010 Fastener Industry News



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