Bon Tool Co.

In 1958, Carl P. Bongiovanni and his family started a company on the foundation of their Masonry Guide, an alignment system for masonry work. The company was named Masonry Specialty Inc. In just a few years, their patented Masonry Guide of permanently marked modular and brick scales revolutionized brick and block work. Soon, supplementary masonry products were added to the inventory, and over time the product offering expanded to other building trades. The company was renamed Bon Tool Co. to better represent the tools being manufactured and distributed.

Currently, Bon Tool Co. offers a selection of more than four thousand contractor-grade tools, light equipment and materials for masonry, concrete finishing and decorative concrete, drywall and EIFS, floor covering, material handling, and general construction. Bon Tool Co. formed an interest in developing their Latin American market sales. The company planned to begin with Mexico and wanted to find a sales representative.

The manager of the Global Business Program at the Small Business Development Center at Duquesne University (Duquesne SBDC) happened to meet a newly arrived Mexican family who came to Pittsburgh for their child’s medical surgery. When the father mentioned that he used to work for a Mexican tool manufacturer and that he was the sales manager for a specified territory in Mexico, the Global Business Program manager introduced him to John Bongiovanni, the Vice President of Sales of Bon Tool Co.

The Global Business Program had been working with Bon Tool for many years on various projects, so the company was already well acquainted with the Duquesne SBDC. The personnel at the Global Business Program prepared both parties for a meeting, provided translator services, and conducted market analysis. Then, the company was referred to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) to apply for the Global Access Program travel grant to Mexico.

With the help of the many meetings, interactions, and market research and analysis, the company signed the father as their new sales representative for Mexico. Sales are projected to start at $250,000 per year initially and grow to over a million dollars within a short period of time. The Mexican representative has performed an analysis of which products in the company catalog will be appropriate for the Mexican market.

The Duquesne SBDC Global Business Program is in contact with many individuals affiliated with international business and is happy to have made the right business introduction so that this company could grow in the Mexican market.