Spicer & Sandburg Inc.
Spicer & Sandburg Inc. (S&S) is a family-owned and –operated oilfield supplier based in Oklahoma City. Emerson Eugene “Spike’ Spicer established the business in 1953, making handshake deals with manufacturers and clients. In 1978, Spike incorporated the business and his partner Charles “Junior” Sandburg joined the company. Today, the operation serves as a manufacturers’ representative agency and a master distribution system for the oilfield.
More than 60 years after the company first opened its doors, S&S is going strong. Junior’s sons, Charley and Jim Sandburg, are now president and vice president of S&S, respectively, proudly following in their father’s footsteps. Charley and Jim work alongside family members, including their mother, sons, daughters, nieces and nephews, to maintain strong relationships with suppliers and clients. Spike’s grandson is also involved as an outside sales representative for the business.
With four locations in Oklahoma, S&S serves distributors and customers within the state and beyond with a diverse, high-quality product line. The team of approximately 40 people operates from four locations, including the main office and warehouse in Oklahoma City and three remote warehouses also within the state.
“We have had locations in other states before, but those operations have come and gone with the market,” Charley explains. “We are always keeping our eyes open for new opportunities, but we have no current plans to expand our physical assets out of state.”
Efficient service and outstanding products
The company sells and delivers products to clients. “We don’t install anything and we are not a retail outlet,” says Charley. “We have a select number of customers we have been doing business with for the last 20 to 30 years. Our client base is consistent. We have distributors who market our products. We have the products available and help them take care of their customers.”
S&S recently took on a new product line from Wellhead Systems Incorporated (WSI) out of Hill City, Kan. “We are bringing a new player to the table,” Charley explains. “We have worked with other companies that had similar products, but this partner is looking to grow. This is a consigned item: we sell the product and they pay us commission on it. The response so far has been very positive. We have several contracts similar to our relationship with WSI. As a master distributor, we buy in bulk, bring it in and break it down. We sell to the distribution network, because they don’t want to buy in bulk.”
The company has also recently partnered with a manufacturer for a tank anode product line, which has done well. “Sometimes the bottoms of the oil tanks have corrosion problems,” Charley explains. “Our distributors’ clients can put anodes in their tanks and pipes as a cathodic protection. The charge travels through these anodes instead of the structure of tank. The anodes can also be used for corrosion and the material will attack these products instead of the tank.”
Strong industry relationships helped the team maintain and expand margins throughout the history of the company. “Our philosophy is to see the people, see the people, and when you’re tired and want to go to the golf course, go see the people,” says Charley. “If you think you want to go out to the golf course and play around, go see the people. If you’re tired, go see the people. We set ourselves apart by working harder than the next guy. We have strong service and strong product knowledge, but the best thing we can do as a company is outwork our competitors.”
With a hardworking attitude, Charley, Jim and S&S’ employees have pushed ahead, growing throughout the recent recession. “In 2010 through 2012, we grew by 35 percent every year,” he recounts. “Our biggest challenges are due to our growth. We have had to hire people every year, because we keep getting bigger. We have doubled in size, but finding the right people to fill our positions can be hard. We have reached out to professionals in other industries and recruited them for our business to build up the options in our labor pool.”
The company also recently constructed a new building, bringing total warehouse and office space from 20,000 square feet up to 40,000 square feet in 2012. The additional space makes more room for administrative staff, a growing sales department, storage for an increased inventory and processing along with the manpower to perform it.
In the coming years, Charley plans to continue to expand. Through S&S’ distribution network, the company’s products have reached clients in the Northeast and other regions. This has all happened working with the same distributors, who frequently dial up Spicer & Sandburg Inc. to secure quality products for their customers at the right price with a quick turnaround.