Clark County at Work: Vancouver Bolt and Supply Inc.

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant



Business name: Vancouver Bolt and Supply Inc.

Owners: Craig and Diane Johnson.

Address: 805 W. 11th St., Vancouver; second location, 420 California Way, Longview.


• Each week, The Columbian offers a brief snapshot of an interesting Clark County business. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

What the business does: Vancouver Bolt and Supply is an industrial distributor of nuts, bolts, screws, hand tools, cutting tools, power tools and supplies. The company maintains a stock of more than 27,000 products. It's customers come from the aluminum industry, railroads, paper mills, fabricators, contractors, lumber mills, steel mills, schools, government and local businesses.

Steps to build the business: Craig Johnson said he is always looking for new ways to grow and sustain his business. With the advances in technology since the company was founded 34 years ago, he said, the company invests in equipment and computer systems that use less paper and are more efficient for its customers.

Greatest challenge: With the ever-changing business economy, the most challenging aspect is determining what the new "normal" is, he said. Changes in the company's market make it difficult to manage inventory, he said.

What's ahead: Johnson said in the next six to eight months Vancouver Bolt will have a new website that will enable customers to view items and purchase online. They will also have a new data collection system that will be faster and use less paper. Over the past two years, Johnson has purchased a new computer system, plus new software and hardware.

A favorite part of the job: The people are what Johnson enjoys most. He said his favorite part of the job is providing his customers with quality products and unequalled service. Many of their customers have been with the company since its beginning.

Year established in Clark County: Craig's parents, Rennie and Doris Johnson, started the company in 1979. Vancouver Bolt continues today with the second and third generation of family members.

Employees: 31.

Telephone: 360-699-4406, Vancouver; 360-425-9360, Longview.

Fax: 360-694-4153.

Website: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.