Comercial Toro Inc.
- Written by: Laura Martinez
- Produced by: Marcela Zulaga
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Comercial Toro Inc. (CTI) has been serving Puerto Rico for more than 40 years with 10 acres of warehouses, showrooms and construction material space. Known for an extensive selection and competitive prices, CTI has established exclusive supplier relationships since its founding in 1970 by Don Milton Raúl Toro Santiago.
As one of 12 children, Raúl made an early living as a farmer, until forming CTI in 1970 with his wife Doña Lucila Nazario. While he took care of his farming business, Raúl also managed backyard retail sales of concrete blocks, gravel and sand; the soon-to-be building blocks of CTI. Lucila took care of sales orders during the day and Raúl would deliver them to customers when he returned from the fields in the afternoon.
As more customers turned to Raúl’s friendly small business, they started requesting other construction materials and CTI was established on the first floor of his residence as a wooden barn storage facility. “We are now a wholesale and retail hardware in construction materials business,” explains Jaime Toro Bobé, one of Milton’s five children and second-generation president of CTI. After attending business school and finishing a law career, Toro Bobé integrated into the family-owned company in 1993.
Leading in steel and wood products
Over the years, CTI has seen many firsts for the island nation, growing from small one-man shop, to a considerable construction industry player.
Today, CTI is one of the island’s largest importers of steel and lumber. “Not only do we import tiles and have a cabinet factory, but we are also one of the most significant importers of steel and wood in Puerto Rico,” explains Toro Bobé. CTI holds an exclusive distributorship with some of the premier Spanish ceramics brands, as well as roof tiles and other building material that will help develop a project.
“Within our facilities there is Cabo Rojo Treating, a wood treatment plant, which is one of the three in total in Puerto Rico,” adds Toro Bobé. “We were the first semi-automatic wood treating plant that was installed in the Caribbean in 1980 and in 2005 it was the first to be automated in Puerto Rico. The CTI affiliate company is the only wood treating plant in western Puerto Rico with an exclusive warrantee seal for its wood treating services. CTI’s products have made an appearance in a range of settings across Puerto Rico, from multifamily housing projects to hospitals, convention centers and public housing. “We’ve been involved in the facilities to host the Central American Games in Mayagüez in 2010,” notes Toro Bobé. “Also, we’ve supplied the New Veterans Clinic, Pavia Hospital and the Bella Vista Hospital in Mayagüez. We’ve delivered for the San Germán Water Park in the town of San Germán and for the construction of the main Convention Center in the town of Cabo Rojo, to mention some.”
Backed by friendly service
Beyond wood and steel, CTI also maintains relationships with Urbina products, including props, scaffolding and work-platforms and the company is a direct distributor of American Standard products and Red Jacket water pumps. However, Toro Bobé says it’s more than stocking the right products -service is what truly sets CTI apart.
“I think part of the success of our company is that we have always been watchful of our service to our customers, above all,” he assures. “Aside from the quality of the product, that‘s something that separates us from the competition because we offer products of the best quality for the best price backed by excellent service.”
After 44 years on the small island, in a fairly small industry where relationships are vital, CTI looks to make not only customers but friends. “Personalized service is what differentiates us from other competitors,” reiterates Toro Bobé.
It’s this level of custom commitment that has kept people flocking to CTI in a less-than-favorable economy. “Operating in an extremely retracted economy without signs of recovery while maintaining our moral and social commitment to provide excellent service has been our biggest challenge,” admits Toro Bobé.
Yet, Toro Bobé says CTI trusts in its loyal customer following. “People know that we are a legitimate company and we offer quality products and even thought we are in a very depressed economic situation, clients make sure, when making an investment, to look for a quality product that will last,” he explains. “It’s more than just looking at something less costly but something that will perform well for the money paid. Even if clients pay a little more they will have something that will last when bought from us.”
At the end of the day it’s about the people. “I like to be in contact with people, to help develop a project and help solve problems,” says Toro Bobé. “It’s the challenge of helping them and after that you have the satisfaction that you’ve made a difference -that’s the most beautiful part of all of this.” Founded as a small family business, Comercial Toro Inc. offers friendly, customer-oriented service and some of the best construction products on the shores of Puerto Rico.
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