60 Years of History: Rich-Tomkins Company 1961-2021
It was January 10, 1961 when Rich-Tomkins was officially recognized as a company when Bradford White’s then General Manager Richard Knapp announced to their customers:
“As of January 1, Stu Rich and Stew Tomkins became independent businessmen and, in the future, will act as manufacturer’s representatives rather than direct company salesman. We are pleased that they will continue to represent Pennsylvania Bradford for many years to come and promote the long-standing ties Penn-Bradford has with its metropolitan customers.”
Stu and Stew grew Rich-Tomkins Company by representing top brands within the industry. They were able to provide the best customer service to their customers and demonstrate to manufacturers they were a trusted and dependable partner within the region.
For the next 30 years Stu and Stew worked to build the company and hire the right individuals to serve the customer’s and client’s needs.
In 1990 Ken Holloway was promoted by Stu and Stew to serve as the company’s president. Holloway came through the ranks as an outside salesman, sales manager and then president. One impactful decision Ken had was to grow the agency into the business of rep warehousing.
The decision to act as a rep warehouse has forced Rich-Tomkins to upgrade locations twice to the current location with over 22,500 square feet of office and warehouse space. Since 2002, Rich-Tomkins has been located in Aston, Pa., with easy access to I-95, I-476, and Route 1.
Stu Rich retired from the business in 1991 and, sadly, passed away seven years later.
It wasn’t until 1999 that Stew Tomkins retired from the business. He proudly served the plumbing industry for over 50 years. Stew still stops in the office for holiday parties and to keep all current employees on their toes.
Ken passed the torch to Stew Chaffee in 2006. Like Holloway, Chaffee came through the ranks at Rich-Tomkins. Chaffee, a stonemason by trade, joined the company as an outside salesman and then became the V.P. of Sales before being promoted to president.
Rich- Tomkins Co. has continued to add talented people to their team to better help customers and clients and grow their business. This team invests a large portion of their time calling on contractors, builders, engineers, developers, designers getting products specified on projects.
Rich- Tomkins Co. more recently announced their expansion into the HVAC world by adding specialists to serve this channel. Chaffee stated, “our goal is to grow this channel of business to be as large as our plumbing division”.
In July 2018 Rich-Tomkins announced the promotion of Bill Bradshaw to the position of President. Bill’s previously held title of V.P. of Sales went to Alan Cohen and at the end of 2019 Stew Chaffee retired to better enjoy time with his many projects.
While times have changed since 1961, Rich-Tomkins’s dedication to providing top-notch customer service has not.
The inside and outside sales teams are made up of a mix of seasoned veterans who can handle just about any question on products and millennials who are eager to gain the knowledge and continue to build the Rich-Tomkins brand for decades to come.