Among the victims of the economic upheaval of 2008 was Bomanite Corp., an early innovator in providing materials for decorative concrete. But Bomanite has emerged from the depths of the Great Recession with a new name, Bomanite Co., and a back-to-the-future business plan. The Madera, Calif., company, has gotten out of product manufacturing and refocused itself on its contractor franchisees, which it offered in the early 1970s when it was founded.
“We just didn’t have the kind of robust sales to operate the kind of manufacturing operation we were used to, so we made some changes,” says Russ Ingersoll, a principal in the old Bomanite Corp. and general manager of the new Bomanite Co.
“We’ve focused our energies away from manufacturing products and toward providing service and support to our contractors, like we did in the early days.” Bomanite’s line of color hardeners, release powders, stains, imprinting tools, etc. are still available to Bomanite contractors, but the products are now manufactured by a half dozen “toll blenders” located around the country.
The outsourced products are produced using Bomanite’s proprietary formulas, and currently a half dozen manufacturers are producing them. Ultimately there may be up to 14 toll blenders strategically located across the country, Ingersoll says.
“Our goal is to get a regional manufacturing network, so no one Bomanite contractor has to spend an inordinate amount on freight to get a product to his shop,” he says. The QC Construction brand, the Bomanite product line that had been available to the general public prior to the closure, remains discontinued. Bomanite was founded in the 1970 by Brad Bowman, a concrete contractor with an artistic eye, Dan Sieben, who had just finished a stint in the Peace Corps, and Frank Shallenberger, a business professor at Stanford University.
Bowman, a World War II vet and an expert in camouflage, is said to be the father of modern imprinted concrete. He used cast aluminum to create the first stamping tools, and he practiced with them in the wet sand at the beach in Carmel, Calif. The company grew rapidly through franchising.