Independent, California-native Consumers Pipe & Supply Company is celebrating 50 years as a supplier partner to the industrial, commercial and municipal end user market.
Over the past five decades the company has grown to four warehouses, 300,000 square feet for operations spread out over five acres, a full valve automation shop and pipe machine shop supported by over 60 associates. They've undergone significant expansion all while serving the PVF requirements of a demanding domestic and international customer base.
The company, now in the third generation of family ownership continues as regional industry leader by striving to be a best in class supplier partner. Today covering a service area from the Mexican border north through the heart of California and into Nevada, the Consumers Pipe team celebrates their success.
“The growth that the sales team has attained over the last 10 years is truly remarkable. Across all business sectors, market expertise has driven customers to appreciate our commitment to them,” said Sales Manager Ray Gonzales.
The company's distribution center and corporate office are located in Fontana, California. The company also operates full stocking service branches to cover the Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Imperial counties and maintains a San Diego sales office.
Consumers Pipe & Supply, founded by Joe Abeling and his son Bill in 1965, began as a small local supplier providing PVF products to the oilfield and utility trade in the Los Angeles market. After his father retired in 1970, Bill Abeling took the reins, growing the company and their customer and vendor bases. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that Consumers Pipe was able to tap into sales at the national and global levels.
Bill led the team and sales growth throughout the 70s and 80s, setting the base for the company to expand into the Inland Empire and Nevada markets. Then in 1994, Bill and wife Mary Jane retired, leaving the legacy to son Mike Abeling, the current president of Consumers Pipe & Supply.
Mike started his PVF career at a young age before going to college in Colorado. When he began leading the company, he and his brother Tony, who was operations manager at the time, maximized profits by harnessing best practices and becoming local product specialists in steam utilization and high-performance valve sales. The operations team and many talented employees improved their internal processes and completed countless projects. Mike has implemented practical training at all levels and in all departments.
“The strength of our management team is what makes coming to work fun," Mike commented. "The sales team with Ray Gonzales is very focused on sales opportunities. Mike Reed and the operations team are dedicated to getting materials where they need to be in the most efficient way possible. The team Eric Ruano has assembled for financial controls has positioned the company for financial success."
Today the management team is made up of: Sales Manager Ray Gonzales, Operations Manager Mike Reed and Controller Eric Ruano.
Mike Abeling is pleased to be at the helm of such an ambitious team. “CP&S is a highly intensive organization. Each and every associate takes pride in providing the best customer service on every scale from sales, operations to answering the phones," Mike said.
Mike is currently an AD Network chairman of Network #307 and serves on the PVF Board of Directors for the Pipe Valve & Fitting Division. He also serves on the PVF Steering Committee for Supply Force.
“The networking afforded us by being a member of Affiliated Distributors is a tremendous advantage. To be able to reach out to Ernie Coutermarsh, Kip Miller, Howard Traeger, Gary Stratiner, Tim Arenberg and so many others is a true advantage in our industry,” Mike said.
Consumers Pipe offers a complete valve automation shop for assembly of all types of valves, actuators, positioners and limit switches. As for their electric, pneumatic or hydraulic offerings, they have in-house expertise to automate all brands. In their Pipe Shop they have a 48" capacity plasma cutting torch, band saws and custom cutting and threading to 6 inches. Grooving capabilities can go to 24" with any custom spooling dimensions that a job will take.
Consumers Pipe has made sure that offerings are as accessible as possible with its online catalog. “Supply Line” is one of the first online catalogs for the PVF industry. It has over 75,000 products and was designed to give users a personalized, convenient experience, which includes products specifications, account information, open order and bid status, history, invoices and more.
“Our product offering spans the technical to the commodities. We have something in our bag to sell everyone we encounter in the market,” Gonzales said.
Consumers Pipe is a major distributor for Metso/Jamesbury, Spirax Sarco, NIBCO, Crane, Bonney, Anvil/Gruvlok, SSP, Viega and Apollo Valves. All associates are equipped and authorized to sell all the major product lines that Consumers Pipe represents.
“Our sales force is technically trained on all of our product offerings and everything is takes to assemble the piping systems around them,” Mike said.
An understanding of specific regulations that impact the industry in which Consumers Pipe operates can further enhance top products and team-driven sales knowledge. The company’s Government Sales Division was designed for prime contractors facing condition-specific federal, state and local government regulations. Government Sales helps to navigate through various governmental requirements.
“As a Participating Distributor to SupplyFORCE we have a GSA schedule that we can use to capture business at any government site. William Dudley has done a good job getting the products that installations need covered in the schedule,” Mike said.
Consumers Pipe has remained flexible to customer experience over the years. This means that they have incorporated various technologies and processes to ensure that needs are met in the most efficient ways possible.
“Everybody needs everything right away. We have added people, trucks and drivers to meet the ever-growing of customer service needs,” said Mike. “Inventory, we are expected to have everything all the time. Our strategic purchasing programs have the stock we need where we need it.”
Consumers Pipe is not limiting themselves to one day of celebrating 50 years. “We will be commemorating the 50th anniversary all year long. We have trucks wrapped with advertising and banners at our locations. In July we will be having a golf tournament and dinner for the occasion. Our ‘Taco Friday’ events will all have the 50th anniversary theme,” Mike said.
The team has leaped over many hurdles over the years, though as all leading companies know, the forecast of the future is yet to be determined, and external factors will continue to work against the grains of long term success. The water shortage in California is one of these challenges that the team faces.
“One of the biggest current challenges in the drought in the Western United States. Our customers are being denied the water they need for processing their products. If this continues businesses may be forced to leave the golden state for other locations,” Eric Ruano said.
Mike added, “Operating in ‘The People’s Republic of California’ has its challenges – healthcare and retirement issues, staying current on the latest changes and to give our associates the best available benefit opportunities.”
One of the CP&S team’s biggest strengths is their ability to run with the opportunities presented to them. “We are always looking at opportunities to grow and prosper. Whether it be new cutting edge products like Viega ProPress & MegaPress or service opportunities for our cutting, grooving and pipe processing shop,” Mike said.