In this issue, we’re shining a light on Commerce Hose & Industrial Products, formerly known as “Hose King” of Commerce, California. It has been a family-owned business since 1994. Commerce Hose provides high-quality hoses and industrial products to consumers and businesses of all sizes.
Jason Bethel is currently running the business, after taking it over from his father Dennis Bethel. Jason began working part-time for the company right out of high school while taking college courses. However, what was supposed to be part of his two-year plan has turned into 27 years with the firm.
Commerce Hose focuses mainly on serving the food industry for two reasons. The first is a logistical one as the company is located right smack in the middle of a region that’s home to one of California’s largest industries ─ food processing/manufacturing. The second reason is a practical one. When Jason first began working at Commerce Hose at age 18, he had a sales mentor named Craig Watt who was around 70 years old. Craig told Jason he only targeted the food industry and added that in 50 years of working in the business, he never had a bad year. He acknowledged that he’d been through a roller coaster of good and bad economic times, but no matter how bad it got, everyone always needed to eat! That philosophy really resonated with Jason.
“Even though we specialize in the food industry, we actually have a very diverse customer base which is something I truly enjoy,” said Jason. “When people ask me what I do for a living, they immediately think I sell residential water hoses. However, on any given day, we deal with businesses in construction, food, special effects, marine, and the automotive industry just to name a few. I truly enjoy the challenges of meeting a variety of industries’ needs.”
To further punctuate this point, Jason relayed that he has been on several movie sets for hydraulic hose deliveries, and measured hose lengths at the Farmer John factory while trying to avoid an assembly line of deceased pigs rushing by him. But of all the unique experiences he has had, the best one has been being his father’s wingman for the past 27 years.
“When I started working for my father as a teen, most customers were older, and I wanted to look the part when pounding the pavement making sales calls. So, I went to where my dad shopped and bought some Dockers® and a briefcase to match his,” Jason said. “He had some big shoes to fill so I wanted to follow his lead. Even though I would show up with an empty briefcase, I thought I looked pretty cool ─ like a real businessman. And I didn’t give up until I brought back my first big sale in that very briefcase!” he added.
Jason and his team believe the future success of the business will be dependent on providing excellent customer service and keeping up with technology ─ which can hard on a small independent supplier’s budget. But by being an active member of IDCO, Commerce Hose has been successful at getting group discounts on not only products but other services such as credit card processing and software.
However, Jason thinks IDCO offers so much more than that. “Even though the rebates and discounts are appreciated and welcomed, we have found the networking, education, and resources to add great value to our business every day,” said Jason. “The opportunities we’ve had to grow our business, be more competitive in pricing, and utilize tools to source hard-to-find materials for customers have all added to our bottom line.”
You can find more information about Commerce Hose & Industrial Products here.