In the current issue of VoyagePhoenix online:
Thanks for sharing your story with us Mark. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have a degree in business with an emphasis in hotel and restaurant management. Who knew I would end up using that knowledge to run a fastener company! After some years managing restaurants and directing management training programs, I left the hospitality industry to help my father-in-law start his own fastener company. I stayed five years and then returned to open my own restaurant. After another five years, the restaurant project failed. To make matters worse, we ended up being conned by a thief who took our assets and left us with the debt. We were forced to declare bankruptcy and I ended up taking nuts and bolts out to the swap meets in the valley to earn a living and start back on the road to financial recovery. One thing led to another and we opened a small store in 1992 across the street from where we are now located. We grew from one small unit to another and then another until we had taken up the entire building. Several years later, we were fortunate enough to be able to buy a larger building across the street and moved in the fall of 2004. We have a unique format in our industry that is reminiscent of our days at the swap meet. Customers have access to open boxes where they can choose how many or how few they need. We have found a niche to serve the little guys and small companies in the valley.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being self-employed is never a smooth road. We offer a very reasonable priced product and excellent service but there are so many things out of our control. The economy fluctuates and that affects us, especially in the construction industry. During the recession we had to let all of our employees go and I ran the business with just my wife and myself. Thankfully, we survived by cutting back and working hard. The competition is tough as well. Many other fastener companies have deeper pockets that we do but we have grown because our reputation for integrity and excellent service has paid off. We just try to help people solve their problems. One of our on-going struggles is to find qualified help who have the knowledge of nuts and bolts and who have a heart to serve.
Please tell us about Mark’s Bolts, Nuts and Surplus.
We are a mainline fastener company. Our core business revolves around nuts, bolts and fasteners that we sell both wholesale and retail to a variety of markets. Our self-serve warehouse allows our customers to walk the aisles looking for what they need. Open boxes let you take several bolts, several handfuls or buy an entire case. Our prices are well below the big box stores and local hardware stores. We can do that because our overhead is low and we don’t have salesmen and delivery services. Much of our inventory is priced by the pound which is very unusual. Our commercial customers can call in an order ahead of time and we will pull it so that they can just drop by and pick it up. We are continuously expanding our inventory so that we have all the unusual sizes and lengths that you can’t find anywhere else. We also buy close-outs and surplus stuff from all kinds of places so you never know what crazy thing you might find on the shelves. Rumor has it that we have everything…. not true, of course, but great advertising! In addition to our low prices and open warehouse, I think that our extensive knowledge is what sets us apart. We do our best to help you figure out a solution to what you need and if we can’t help you, we often know where to send you.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Growing up in the desert on the outskirts of Scottsdale chasing lizards, riding bikes and exploring!
You can read the article online at http://voyagephoenix.com/interview/meet-mark-corby-marks-bolts-nuts-surplus-west-valley/