Case Studies

Passaic Metal & Building Supplies Co.

Building on 103 Years of Family Tradition & the Complete Package

For more than a century, Passaic Metal & Building Supplies Co. (PAMCO) has been a longstanding name in wholesale building supplies and sheet metal. The New Jersey-based retailer and manufacturer stocks a full range of building materials, from sheet metal to TPO and EPDM commercial-grade roofing, to siding and HVAC products.

From Father to Son

The company’s specialization in spiral duct systems and architectural roofing products began in 1911 with Max Gurtman, founder of PAMCO. As a tin knocker, Max ran one of the first union shops in New Jersey at the turn of the century. When his shop began to expand, Max started supplying smaller retailers with materials.

“The business originated with my great-grandfather, but it wasn’t until 1933, when my grandfather, Lawrence Gurtman, officially established the company as PAMCO,” recounts Scott Gurtman, current president of PAMCO.

The company expanded again in 1973 when Lawrence’s sons, Frank and Alan, assumed ownership, adding roofing and siding products for residential and commercial projects and prefabricated sheet metal and accessories. Around the same time, PAMCO set up its Andover, N.J., and Fishkill, N.J., locations. As brothers and business partners, Frank and Alan worked side by side until Alan passed away in 2001.

“I grew up in the business, working during the summer throughout high school and college,” shares Scott. “I would drive the forklifts in the warehouse and for our fireplace division. At one point or another, I drove a bigger lift than I was comfortable with, but that’s how I learned.”

After graduating from the University of Vermont, Scott decided to backpack through Europe for a few months. “I wanted to travel abroad before settling down, but when I returned my father gave me a car and some samples and I jumped right in and started selling materials,” he recalls.

Scott has been with PAMCO ever since. “There’s something to say about tradition,” explains Scott. “When I walk into someone’s office, I see Al Sr. and Al Jr. and they know me, my father and they knew my grandfather. We’re leading into the second and third generations of this company.”

Diversified Service with Individual Attention

Today, PAMCO is headquartered in Clifton, N.J., serving New Jersey and New York. The company has come leaps and bounds from the small shop Max started in 1911. “We now operate seven companies under the PAMCO umbrella,” notes Scott. “Our divisions include: Advanced Fireproof Door, All County HVAC Supply Inc., Max Gurtman & Sons Inc., Northwest Building Supply, Passaic Metal and The Siding Depot.”

With numerous specialty divisions, PAMCO has expanded its product offerings to include HVAC equipment, fireplaces and tapered roofing services. The company also operates its own complete fleet of equipment from cranes and booms to trucks.

“We’re very diversified,” ensures Scott. “We focus on all types of commercial roofs, including low-slope and steep, sheet metal, fabricated metal, HVAC service and fire proof doors. We have one of the largest inventories around, backed by a knowledgeable staff.”

Despite the size of PAMCO’s operation, the company’s sales team prides itself in personalized service from a senior-level executive down to an inventory specialist. “We’re unlike our competitors in this sense,” explains Scott. “Our people are the most professional and service-oriented in the industry. They provide solutions with genuine enthusiasm. Our sales team is focused on helping customers troubleshoot system issues and technical questions with a combination of friendly, competent individuals that help meet specific job requirements.”

Customers come to PAMCO for quick turnarounds. “Working with us takes half the time of working with some of the large-scale national chains,” adds Scott. “We can support any project through our vast line of products in-stock at our distribution centers.”

Projects of All Shapes and Sizes

Any project means buildings as large as a 1 million-square-foot distribution center to high-profile stadiums and even sizable corporate facilities. “We recently finished a commercial roofing project for the new Amazon Distribution Center in Avenel, N.J.,” details Scott. “This was one of our most significant jobs.”

Jobs of such magnitude require the expertise that PAMCO has acquired after a century-long run in business. “You have to be super diligent and organized with quantities,” explains Scott. “It’s a balance not to over ship or under ship. If you over ship, it cost money to take stuff back and rewrap it, but if you under ship and there isn’t enough material, the owner might get stuck paying guys who are not working and that doesn’t make for happy customers. All in all, it’s about communication and organization to navigate all of the variables in this kind of delivery.”

PAMCO has also completed the commercial roof for the 600,000-square-foot Goya Beans factory in New Jersey, complete with eco-white membrane EPDM. “As far as manufacturing facilities go, we also worked on the warehouse for the candy brand Smarties in Union, N.J.,” reveals Scott.

One of PAMCO’s most coveted jobs is the company’s commercial roofing work at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. “The New Jersey Devils play at the Prudential Center and its home to many large events throughout the year,” reveals Scott. “The biggest challenge was coordinating with other trades, because it was a brand-new building. It takes expert coordination to get cranes in and out to pull off a job like this.”

Communication is critical, no matter the size and scope of the project; which is why PAMCO’s operating systems are designed for the flow of information. “Our state-of-the-art computer system links all of the branches on a real-time basis,” details Scott. “With more than 30,000 SKUs in-stock, we can satisfy all of our customers’ needs and even supply those hard to find items.”

Above all else, staying at the forefront of the latest industry technology is PAMCO’s goal. “Our tapered roofing plan and spec departments have the capability to supply and sketch tapered roof drawings and deliver a complete package, from estimating to the finished product shipped to the job site,” Scott continues.

As the fourth generation leader, Scott says the company is in a good position for continued growth, as 2011 was PAMCO’s 100-year anniversary. “We’ve learned to be lean and mean through the recession,” he details. “Fortunately, we don’t have layers and layers, so when the downturn hit hard we didn’t have to cut too much.”

Scott says it’s all about steady, reliable service. “We consistently get the product there on time while effectively managing the logistics and building relationships,” he adds. “Some of the material providers we use have been with us since the beginning. It’s those longstanding relationships that really make our operation successful.”

After 100 years of family ownership, PAMCO remains a one-stop source for commercial roofing products, HVAC system supplies, siding, sheet metal, doors and fireplaces. But, no matter the product, Passaic Metal & Building Supplies Co. backs it with the integrity of a family-rooted business.

Published on: July 9, 2014

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