A Look Back
V&W’s roots date back to 1968 when Bruce Vincent and Richard Widick opened their doors in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The building had previously been home to Pate Supply for 29 years until the business closed. Vincent and Widick operated V&W out of that location for the next 29 years. They also opened a branch in Pelham, Alabama in 1975.
About 20 years later, Jim Herritt decided to go out on his own, and the timing was ideal for him to acquire V&W from its founders. On the same day that Jim took over, Carlo Joseph joined his colleague at V&W and later bought stock in the business.
The Right Chemistry
At first glance, Jim Herritt and Carlo Joseph might seem like total opposites. Jim is tall, Carlo short. Jim spent a lot of time in New York, while Carlo is Alabama to the core. Jim is an analytical deep thinker who likes to focus on systems and purchasing; in contrast, Carlo is a Type A personality who lives, eats and breathes orders and sales. Their partnership over the past three decades has led V&W to extraordinary success. The winning pair has taken V&W to new heights in sales, profits and customer service.
Jim is proud that his two sons have been actively involved in the business and are providing a smooth transition to the next generation of leadership at V&W. Lee Herritt, now the President, started working at V&W just months after Jim acquired the company. And younger son Greg Herritt worked part-time throughout high school and has worked in nearly every area of the business. He is now Manager of the Pelham, Alabama branch. A third branch in Trussville, Alabama was opened in 2001 and that same year, construction began on a new headquarters in downtown Birmingham, just 10 blocks from their former location. And in 2009, the company expanded again with the acquisition of Central Supply in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
We’ve been blessed with great people, from our employees to our customers to our vendors. Every company faces adversity, but we’ve met every challenge head on and came out the other side of it stronger. This is a testament to how powerful great relationships are. This is the key to our success today and in the future.
Setting Ourselves Apart
We put a strong emphasis on employing the right people and giving them the tools they need to be successful. We strive to hire only the best people and are constantly on the lookout for great talent. We have tough in house training programs, as well as, investing with vendors on training at their facilities. Kohler, Charlotte Pipe and Rheem are just a few of the vendors that have helped us grow and train our people from the top to bottom.
For our showrooms staff, we have quarterly one-on-one preferred partner vendor trainings with all of our showrooms. We also host twice-a-month training spots for our vendors. Other training methods include webinars, online testing, factory tours and hands-on training in each of our showrooms.
We put a significant effort into customer training as well. We offer monthly Lunch & Learns that offer Continuing Education Unit credits, as well as twice-a-year, one-on-one manufacturer product knowledge training that includes lunch and a spa treatment.
Our showroom locations include a 7,000 sf showroom in Birmingham, a 3,000 sf showroom in Pelham and a 3,000 sf showroom in Tuscaloosa. Our Gallerie staff has over 70 combined years of experience in interior design and the building construction industry. With this experience and talent we are able to continuously offer fresh innovative ideas to our clientele.
We consistently utilize market research and focus groups to understand areas we are successful in, areas of improvement and ways to better relate with the luxury clientele. We stay current on trends and product technology through regular training offerings, as well as, attending the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. Surveys and research helps us stay up to date on the latest styles, patterns and market changes. Additionally, we partner with key local advertising companies to help us reach out to a wide clientele base.