March 4, 2005 was a major day in the history of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Salem
Distributing. That was the day the company became an ESOP company, 100-percent
employee-owned. This means that instead of there being only one company owner,
all 64 employees own part of the company.
"ESOP is a pretty wonderful thing," said Mike Willard, Vice President
of Salem. "Salem is now a different company, a changed company."
Willard said that in 2004 Salem had sales of approximately $28.5 million, and
expects that 2005's sales should be about $37 million. One reason for this is
the fact that Salem has begun doing more work in the stone business.
"We're [applying] our knowledge about glass to the stone industry,"
Another change at Salem is a new logo, created by Steve Brown, Advertising
Director. Brown explained that because Salem is now a new company a new logo was
needed to give the company its own identity.
"The logo is a new moniker on a new company," said Brown. "We
went through what seemed like hundreds of logo [possibilities]." Like the
old logo, the new one still has a triangle, which Brown says they felt they had
equity in, but the logo itself is more modern than the original.
"It reflects the environment of a new company," added Brown. "We
may be the only company in the glass industry, that when a customer calls to place
an order they're talking to an owner."
New production and equipment is also part of the changes taking place at Salem.
At the GlassBuild America Show taking place this week in Atlanta, Salem will be
demonstrating a variety of equipment and machinery.
"The glass industry changed drastically over the past ten years and Salem
is changing with it," said Doug Mangus, Equipment Sales Coordinator. Reflecting
the growing need for laminated glass, due to changing hurricane and building codes,
one equipment change for Salem is a focus on laminated glass. In fact, the company
brought a section of a Bovone laminating line that it will be displaying in its
booth. Salem will also be distributing grinding, polishing and drilling equipment,
among other lines, as well.