Gina Gardner Covell

Slippery Rock Gazette

Jackie Hoffman, BB Industries Customer Consultant for the Pacific Northwest U.S.

Jackie Hoffman, BB Industries Customer Consultant for the Pacific Northwest U.S. 

Jackie Hoffman is one-of-a-kind. Not only is she the sole woman van driver in the stone tools industry that we know of, but she is one of the top sales consultants at BB Industries. She’s been in the industry for nearly two decades and knows her way around the business as well as she knows the streets she travels every single week of the month. 

When asked about her secret to success, she said, “I try my best to provide my customers solutions instead of just selling products. If a customer sees my knowledge, then they trust me and know I am going to do what is best for them. Also, I am not afraid to get dirty or break a nail. I know my products from machines to pads and blades, down to adhesives. If I don’t know, I will call the manufacturer or work with it to understand it. This industry is my Rubik’s cube.”

“I have worked with Jackie for many years now,” said Narelle Hooker, owner of McKenzie Tile & Stone in Eugene, Oregon. “She has always been one to not just sell a product but to understand what the product does and to make sure it is the best for my needs.  I can always count on Jackie to do the research needed to give me the best advice and steer me in the right direction. Jackie is a true expert in her field combined with a bit of sass...she is a true win for me!”

Whatever her secret, it works because Hoffman always exceeds her budget/quota. She is dedicated to her calling, a true workaholic, but in a good way.

“I’m successful because my customers do not have to wait. I will provide products same day or next day — guaranteed.”

While Hoffman was on the phone during this interview, she was planning to drive 5-1/2 hours out of her route home for the weekend to deliver a sink harness on Friday, instead of making the customer wait until the next week. 

Left: Jackie prepping her BBI van, with help of van inspection associates Puddles and Joker.     Right: BBI Holiday spirit: Ugly sweater day at “the office.”

Left: Jackie prepping her BBI van, with help of van inspection associates Puddles and Joker.


Right: BBI Holiday spirit: Ugly sweater day at “the office.”

Hoffman works seven days per week: five days on the road and two days of detailing the truck and doing inventory. Her schedule isn’t the only difficult thing about her job, though. When she meets new customers, many times they think she is a delivery person instead of a knowledgeable tool sales consultant, because she is a unicorn in this business. 

No matter how tough it may be, Hoffman still eats, sleeps, and breathes her job. 

She said, “I have been doing this for 17 years. I leave Mondays and don’t come home until Thursday or Friday. I am a road warrior! My customers are my people and I want to make sure they are taken care of, and no one takes better care of them than me. I know my customers’ favorite beer, sports teams, vacation spots and even their wives’ names and birthdays.” 

One story illustrates how hard Hoffman works for her clients. “I was once about to leap off the side of a boat in the Bahamas with my snorkel gear on when my phone rings, and I stop and walk back in flippers to where my husband is with my phone to answer it. It was a customer here in Washington (state), and I sent an email for him so he could get his product in two days. I called the customer when I got back to port and made sure he had received the order. That is how dedicated I am to my customers!” 

 “Yes, my Boston Terrier, Puddles, is sometimes my co-pilot – and a great ice-breaker. My clients, like Lupe Chavez of Crystal Stone, Auburn, Washington, love to meet him.”

Above: “Yes, my Boston Terrier, Puddles, is sometimes my co-pilot – and a great ice-breaker. My clients, like Lupe Chavez of Crystal Stone, Auburn, Washington, love to meet him.”


Below: Hoffman on a delivery run to client Diane Nettekoven at Nu Elegance, in Kent, WA.

Hoffman on a delivery run to client Diane Nettekoven at Nu Elegance, in Kent, WA.

Hoffman began her stone tools career at Sommer & Maca, a glass manufacturer that also had a stone tool division. She started out following trucks with A-frames down the freeway to find out where the busy shops were. 

Hoffman was the youngest sales rep in the entire company, and one of only three women in the company. 

Hoffman admits she learned so much about tools and machines from following people around, hanging out in shops and asking a lot of questions. Hoffman can now demonstrate and use the machines and tools she sells. 

Edgar, fabrication foreman of Stone Center in Portland Oregon recalls his early connection with Jackie. “When I first met Jackie, she was working for GranQuartz, and what I liked about her was that she was always curious as to where and why I would use certain products like epoxies. She would ask for my opinion on customer concerns so she would know enough to resolve issues that they would have. She wants to know everything about the industry, whereas other drivers or suppliers just want to sell their products.”

Eric Boulouden, GM for Axis Countertops in Kent Washington said, “Under customer service in Webster’s dictionary, there is a picture of Jackie. I’ve worked with her twenty years and she will go out of her way to bring me anything I need. If she is within two hours, she will turn around and come back to the shop, if I forgot something. She is the energizer bunny and puts more time on her van than any 18-wheeler driver. It’s not just customer service though, Jackie’s knowledge of surface repair is bar none. I am a chemical engineer, known as “the fixer” because of my surface repair abilities, but Jackie has me beat. None of her competitors do what she does. Jackie is the glue that keeps her customers together and she goes above for us and BB Industries. I cherish our professional and personal relationship.”

After two years with Sommer & Maca, Hoffman went to Keystone. Then, a merger placed her working at GranQuartz. They didn’t have trucks at that time, and only had catalog sales. Hoffman spent seven years there, altogether. She would take her vacation time and go to trade shows, since she was not invited. She would go into competitors’ booths to do research and get their catalogs. 

When she left the company, the new GQ regional manager asked her to come back, but she had already trained her replacement, so instead, they hired her as a consultant. She took a van route the next day, took truck inventory for others, and trained the new salespeople on the routes, and did some in-store training. 

When Hoffman left GranQuartz, she became Steve’s Polishing Pro Systems’ Director of Sales, where she learned how to do surface repairs. They once called her in at a trade show to repair a Caesarstone slab, and she did it in 3-inch heels, in the SFA cage.

“The day I met Jackie, she was on a bucket, in her heels, repairing a slab in the SFA cage, and her only competition were men,” said Dave Bonasera, CEO of ESP (Environmentally Safe Products and Procedures). “I’d challenge any veteran polisher to perform under the adverse conditions she’s had to face. I would put her up against anyone refinishing stone or engineered material. She learned from the best with Steve at Steve‘s Polishing Pro Systems. Most sales people can sell, but Jackie use the tools she sells. If she cannot, she will research and practice until she can. She is a very self-driven, self-made person who put in the hours, and works hard to be the go-to source for her customers. That is a lot art these days. I know if I told Jackie she was old school, she would put her hand on her hip and say ‘Baby, I am the school!’”

Next, she established Western Tool & Supply’s Pacific Northwest territory via catalog sales and stayed for a year. Even during her year break from the stone business while working at Royal Caribbean, she worked with Aaron Crowley and helped design the deluxe apron from Fabricator’s Friend. 

Crowley commented, “Jackie has always been Fabricators Friend’s biggest advocate and it was her suggestion to put a suspender type should strap on our standard apron. Her idea became the Deluxe version of our Bullet Proof Apron, which is now more popular than the original!”

Long time BB Industries (BBI) sales consultant Bill Hickey had mentioned that she should work at BBI. When she saw that her friend and former co-worker Joe Torres had been hired at BBI, she called him and told him she wanted to work at BB Industries. And that is where she has been for the past three years. 

In an industry dominated by male salesman, she has proven herself time and time again by offering customer service to an astounding level and educating herself at every turn to know her products inside and out so that she can roll up her sleeves and use them to help customers with solutions. Her customers love her as a professional and friend because many have worked with her for two decades. Hoffman has her customers’ and company’s best interest at heart and gives her job 150 percent effort. She is a huge asset to the stone industry and especially to BB Industries. With so many years in the industry, Hoffman runs into past co-workers who are competitors all the time in her BB Industries territory, and has good and respectful relationships with them. “One calls me the pit bull because I won’t let go, once I sink my teeth in. Another calls me the princess because the car I used to drive before my van was Cinderella blue!” said Hoffman. 

“It has been so great working with a fast-growing company who values customer service as much as I do,” said Hoffman.  “I tell my customers that I work for them and BBI pays me to supply them. I really do love what I do– my customers and my company.”

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