Shannon B. Carey

Photo by Shannon Carey 

Braxton-Bragg CEO Rick Stimac: “Braxton-Bragg has the most efficient warehouse and shipping team in the industry.”

Braxton-Bragg CEO Rick Stimac: “Braxton-Bragg has the most efficient warehouse and shipping team in the industry.”

Braxton-Bragg is focused on offering new and breaking technology in stone-industry tools, and educating customers in diamond tools and materials, and how to safely and efficiently use them.

Braxton-Bragg is focused on offering new and breaking technology in stone-industry tools, and educating customers in diamond tools and materials, and how to safely and efficiently use them.

When Rick Stimac learned of the opportunity to take the reins as Braxton-Bragg’s new CEO, the answer was a resounding “Yes.” Even with a cross-country move, even with changing his focus to a new industry, the chance to lead a company that’s already at the top of its game was an obvious fit, and he jumped at the chance.

Stimac came on board in October 2017, and his vision for the company is one of positive growth building on Braxton-Bragg’s proven track record of quality service and customer satisfaction. 

“I’m excited about the foundation that we have, but also our strategic plan,” said Stimac. “Our plan is that we are going to double in size in the next three years.”

A Background in Service

Stimac is a Wisconsin native with a love of sportsmanship. An avid golfer and basketball enthusiast, he led an all-star youth basketball league in Wisconsin with more than 500 youngsters participating each year.

In his early career, that love of sports played a role as he worked in wholesale distribution for M.W. Cash, a B2B (business to business) distributer of toys and sporting goods. It was there that he first learned the secret to B2B success.

“I think one of the successes has always been keeping a B2C (business to consumer) mindset, though, supporting the retailer or contractor to achieve what the end consumer really wants,” Stimac said. 

From there, he became vice president of sales and marketing for Huffy Corporation, manufacturers of bicycles and sports equipment like home basketball systems, and added a few more sports wholesalers to his resume before becoming chief sales and marketing officer for G.A. Larson, a wholesale distributor of HVACR equipment.

While there is a learning curve to joining Braxton-Bragg, Stimac said he has a good understanding of stone fabrication “as an art form,” and the new position plays to strengths he’s developed throughout his career, strengths that are echoed in Braxton-Bragg’s 24-year record of excellent customer service.

“It’s that same focus of having delight for the end customer,” he said.

Matching Strengths and Values

For Stimac, and for Braxton-Bragg, B2B customer service is all about give and take. Pouring time, service and care into the fabricators and installers who come to Braxton-Bragg for equipment and supplies helps those entrepreneurs grow their businesses, which helps Braxton-Bragg grow as a company. In fact, he calls Braxton-Bragg’s customers “partners” because of the mutual-benefit relationship he hopes to nurture.

Stimac also wants to see the company grow without losing the one-on-one touch that makes Braxton-Bragg special, both to the “partners” and the employees.

“Those things were in place before I came on board, and everybody here stood for them,” he said. “The people here exemplify that, and it’s absolutely amazing. The years of experience in our team, I would definitely say that 10-plus years is our average tenure.”

That, and the strength of Braxton-Bragg’s satisfaction guarantee, are important parts of the Braxton-Bragg culture that Stimac wants to preserve while he leads the company.

“I’ve never been part of any organization where there is no exception to the guarantee,” he said. “But we do. We really, truly live it. If you’re not happy with it, we’ll take it back, and that’s it.”

With commitment to Braxton-Bragg’s partners in mind, Stimac and the team are changing the company’s tagline from “Better! Faster! Cheaper!” to “Better Service • Better Value.”

“We’re changing our tagline to represent that we are a market leader in our service and value,” he said.

Where does the “value” part of the new slogan fit in? Stimac is spearheading a new educational component of the business, partnering with industry associations like MIA and leveraging company assets like the Slippery Rock Gazette and the company website to extend easy-to-understand training to Braxton-Bragg’s partners.

“With training and education, we’ll show more value than just selling products,” he said. 

And, he hopes suppliers, fabricators and installers will return the favor by letting Braxton-Bragg know about new products and techniques.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Stimac said.

The Braxton-Bragg team out in force at the East Tennessee Race for the Cure event.

    The Braxton-Bragg team out in force at the East Tennessee Race for the Cure event.

Vision for the Future

Shortly after joining Braxton-Bragg, Stimac led a process to develop core values and a strategic plan for the company. Those core values come together into the acronym BEST.

They are:

Behaves with integrity

Enthusiastic, Energetic, Tenacious &Competitive

Serves customers above all else


And everything, from a top-performing warehouse to salespeople who devote special attention to each customer to quality relationships with suppliers, is aimed at making Braxton-Bragg the best distributor in the industry.

“Every single thing that this organization has done is to make sure our customers have that customer delight,” Stimac said. “And I think delivering on our mission of profitable growth is our commitment to our ownership group.”

Stimac also plans on examining how Braxton-Bragg goes to market, including being a presence at trade shows and in trade associations. He will be in attendance at StoneExpo in January 2018, and Coverings that April.

“I’m really excited about getting to know the industry and the people in the industry through shows and MIA events,” he said. “Braxton-Bragg has partnered with lots of those events through sponsorships, but I hope to be more involved than in the past.

“I want to be able to say when you combine price with service you know we’re the best in class, and we live up to it. I would say that we’re a world-class organization.”