Prier – Grandview
Whenever you use running water, chances are you’re using a PRIER product.
PRIER Products, Inc. is a well-established Missouri company manufacturing brass plumbing valves and a wide variety of related products from its facility in Grandview, Mo. Founded in 1881 by German emigrant Anton Prier, the company began by manufacturing cast brass items suited to 19th century life — coach lanterns, plaques and other small-scale specialty items. Prier realized, however, that brass is much better at holding water under pressure than the iron fixtures, because iron rusts and brass doesn’t. So, Prier patented one of the first self-closing faucets, increased the company’s offerings and dramatically grew sales to the plumbing industry.
Over the years, PRIER held market share, but in time the company began to face a new kind of competition.
“We sell outdoor lawn faucets, freezeless wall and yard hydrants and sillcocks as well as indoor plumbing valves, all manufactured right here in Grandview,” says Scott Livingston, PRIER’s national sales manager. “And we are selling primarily against a lot of importers who make their products in China, Taiwan and other places. We are always looking for ways to be more innovative, use domestic resources to make a better valve and offset some of the cost difference.”
PRIER CEO Joe Poskin decided to look for help from the TAAF program. Becky Nace, project manager, worked with him and Livingston to evaluate PRIER’s future. Nace walked the company through the successful application process in 2009.
PRIER began using the funds for product designs, plant floor improvements and a sweeping marketing program consisting of new marketing materials and website to differentiate its products against imports and other domestic competitors.
PRIER has experienced steady growth for the last few years, even in a difficult housing market. “We are selling materials for new housing and other construction pretty steadily,” Livingston says. “Despite the downturn, business has been very positive the last three years.”
Livingston adds that he’s also seen much more enthusiasm to buy American-made products. “Some people are just looking at price, price and price, but many do appreciate that with the high unemployment rate, buying American means supporting local manufacturers. They appreciate the quality, too. We are finding that putting the American flag on products helps sell them.”
And he has nothing but praise for Nace and the TAAF team. “Becky and her team have been tremendously helpful,” Livingston says. “Working so hard through the contract to get the money approved was great, but we had to put skin in the game, too, so we made sure we watched every dime. It’s a great program.”
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