R.E. Edwards & Associates 64 years of service to the industry
Bob Edwards founded R.E. EDWARDS & ASSOCIATES January 1, 1955 in Oakland, Ca., following 7 years experience with another manufacturer's agent.
As a young man, Bob Edwards dreamed of having his own business and 50 years later we celebrate the hard work, enthusiasm and resourcefulness that made that dream a reality.
With the help of Doug Williams of Wilco Supply, Bob started out with Grant Hardware and Shelby Spring Hinge. At the Home Builders Show that year in Chicago, Bob picked up some miscellaneous lines, but it was in September 1955 with help from another customer, Bob contracted to rep Builders Brass Works. BBW was later acquired by TRIMCO, a valuable partner with the REE TEAM today.
Bob’s first office was in the basement of his Oakland hills home. His wife Mavis helped with the phone and bookkeeping until Bob hired his Dad part time to do the phone and books. He soon hired a secretary who also helped to give his customers the attention an answering service could never provide.
The agency sold commercial, residential, builder and retail products through wholesale distributors, contract distributors and door and window fabricators.
Service, dependability and good communication became the primary asset that contributed to building strong relationships and rapidly growing sales for an exciting hardware journey.
Dick Voight, Bob’s brother in-law, joined the agency and Bob’s brother Jack worked some lines part time. Bob later helped both to start their own rep business and their sons Dennis Voight and Chris Edwards are growing their respective businesses today.
A good friend and hardware consultant, Lew Cline, joined the firm in 1969 to help Bob with the growing need to work with the architects and design community. Lew was with REE for 9 years and helped the firm to effectively service the growing channels of distribution and expanding market. Bob helped Lew start his own rep business too.
In 1971 Bob’s secretary moved to L.A. and his oldest son, Dave, offered to help out in the office temporarily. Dave started with the phones and secretarial work and he never left. Dave quickly developed his customer service skills and was soon out calling on smaller customers to gain experience and help build sales.
When Dave joined REE, father and son discovered an immediate ability to work together happily, efficiently and effectively. This was the start of a family business built on love and respect.
Much was to develop in the next few years. REE incorporated in 1980. Dave’s brother, Dan, left his glass business to join the team in 1982. As REE continued to grow, Jerry Kendall, a sales rep for Stanley Hardware, came on board in 1984. All were given the opportunity to buy shares in REE.
Dave and Dan’s sister, Mary, joined the team to take over the office duties in 1983. Mary would later become the corporate secretary, bookkeeper and accountant that would allow the guys to concentrate on selling. As the family worked together they found that success comes from making opportunities, not just finding them.
Pemko Manufacturing had been a customer of REE’s since the mid 1950’s for foam tape and vinyl products. In 1983 it was a privilege to become sales reps for PEMKO, after their move to Ventura. A year later we joined with Anemostat, (both) industry leaders.
Breakfast meetings became regular planning sessions for the team and an opportunity for Bob to coach on relationships, respect and integrity. His young group worked on good sales techniques and efficient scheduling.
Mavis Edwards, while not engaged in the day-to-day business, was a strong encourager for her husband and sons.
Good planning and hard work gave REE the opportunity to become reps for two more fine companies; Jensen in 1992 and Detex in 1994. All of these companies helped REE to work through industry down-turns, strikes and the inevitable economic slow downs.
While Bob was slowing down and working gradually into retirement, the firm continued to grow under Dave Edwards’ know-how and practical management, together with the exceptional and dedicated performances of Dan and Jerry. A positive attitude, commitment and respect for each other were powerful ingredients in the success of the REE TEAM.
Trimco purchased BBW and Quality in the 1990’s to consolidate the Architectural Trim business on the West Coast and REE has been fortunate to grow with these fine companies.
The agency moved from Oakland to Dublin in 1997 to be more centrally located in the territory. Micki O’Sullivan joined REE in their new expanded offices and coordinates communication and customer service from the front desk.
In 2000, the Third Generation, Brian Edwards (Dave’s son), joined the company when a position opened up in the office. After two years in the office he moved into an outside sales position covering the Central Valley with Uncle Dan.
A major expansion occurred in February of 2003 when REE and AR Associates merged together to form a stronger, more focused and targeted sales agency with six sales people on the road. Allan Rubens, principle of AR, and Stacey Ver, Senior Architectural rep, came with the merger to expand the REE sales force.
Bobrick, which Allan has represented since 1969, has become a key component of REE marketing efforts, as they provide greater access to the end-user, architectural and design communities for REE.
Norma Saracino joined the staff, when we joined with Bobrick in 2003. Norma’s background with construction and engineering firms helped speed her learning curve and has grown into REE’s office manager.
Bob, soon to be 85, finds special joy in watching the good relationships and production of the family working together. He has occasional input, but mostly just enjoys observing.
Mike Edwards, Brian’s brother, added to the third generation of REE starting in the office October 2007. He moved into an outside sales position in August of 2008.
Jerry Kendall, 25 year partner and principle of the agency retired in July 2008. Dave, Dan, and Jerry were like a “band of brothers” working together. Mike will be filling Jerry’s very large shoes taking care of his customers.
Bob Edwards passed away on October 8 of 2008. He left this earth to be with his Lord peacefully and with dignity. He leaves as a legacy, his small company that practices his values of Honesty, Integrity, and Relationships every day.
The vitality of the whole REE TEAM now contributes to the all-important continuity of three generations and long-term representation of Bobrick -50 years (two agencies), Pemko -30 years, Anemostat -29 years.
We now look ahead with great expectation as we combine knowledge, experience, youth, and great relationships to market and engineer our products through architects, designers and end users.
The goal…….Create profitable sales for our customers and our factories.
Thank you to all of you, who helped us, to make it happen.