March marks my fifth anniversary as CEO of Braxton-Bragg, LLC and publisher of the Slippery Rock Gazette.  

Anniversaries are a time to look back and then forward. Shortly after arriving, we had an all-employee meeting where I then came out with a set of principles that would guide our company going forward. The principles were called
 “The Customer Bill of Rights.”   

I announced that to help hold us accountable, we would publish these principles in the Slippery Rock Gazette, on our website, and display a banner at the upcoming Coverings show. After the meeting an employee approached me and questioned the wisdom of low prices. I explained that we would need to become the most efficient distributor in order for a low price strategy to work.

I did not believe that our customers should subsidize inefficiency by paying higher prices.

Thanks to our customers, I am happy to report that we are still here and are looking forward to serving you even better in the housing recovery ahead. Since five years seems like a significant anniversary, I thought it might be fun to go back and review the “Customer Bill of Rights” and explain how we implemented the principles.

Braxton-Bragg Customer Bill of Rights

  • To be treated with friendliness, honesty, and respect. 
  • The lowest prices on our tile and stone products and full value for your money. 
  • A complete guarantee of satisfaction. 
  • Same-day shipping of our stone and floor tile supplies—in the event of a delay customers are entitled to immediate notification along with an honest estimate of the expected shipping date. 
  • Speedy, courteous, and knowledgeable answers to your inquiries. 
  • Questions on accounts will be handled on an individual basis so it can be resolved quickly.

How We Have Attempted to Live Up to the Customer Bill of Rights

  • People in Tennessee just naturally seem friendly to me, but then as I am often reminded, I am from a big city. Where we have found cases where customers were not treated with respect we have taken steps to prevent recurrence.
  • In 2008 we lowered our prices to be lower than the published prices of any of our competitors. We continually research catalogs, advertisements, and websites to see what our competitors are charging, and when we find a lower price, we reduce ours. We will match anyone’s sale prices, and if you buy from Braxton-Bragg and find the item at a lower price anywhere within 7 days, we will write you a check for the difference.

In order to do this without going broke, we had to improve the quality of our product offering and eliminate products and vendors that could not meet our customer’s satisfaction. I am happy to report that our customer returns are less than half of what they were in 2008 despite having an unconditional guarantee. 

In 2008 our largest competitor had a team of sourcing agents in China looking for products. Many folks thought that American manufacturing was a thing of the past. I even went to the Xiamen Stone Fair to see what was available, and returned convinced that China was not the answer for our industry. 

We began developing sources in the USA for products, and we are the only distributor to publish country of origin for all products on our website. 

  • Same-Day shipping turned out to be more complicated than it sounded. We had to replace our computer system, consolidate warehouses, eliminate unreliable vendors, negotiate new transportation agreements, but today if you order before 5:45 pm EST, there is a 99.8 percent chance your order will ship today and be delivered to your shop within two days, even if you are in Anchorage or Honolulu, if the product is in stock. 

There is a 96.1 % chance that the product is in stock. We offer free freight for UPS-able orders over $250 and we even pay the Hazmat fee for adhesives and sealers instead of charging you. For larger truck orders, we pass on the truck freight.

We were the first and are still the only distributor to offer a written, unconditional, 30-day money-back guarantee on everything we sell. 

  • We promised that we would provide knowledgeable-answers. We found this is to be harder than it sounds. We have over 4,000 items in our offering. Our vendors come to Knoxville to provide product in-depth training to our salesmen. It became obvious very quickly that training inside salesmen was possible, but training remote outside salesmen was impossible. 

The reality is that you cannot afford to bring in people to headquarters every week from the various states to train them on the products. We view this lack of training for outside salesmen as a significant problem in our industry. 

Our conclusion was to put resources into training our inside salesmen, creating a great website, and to use video to demonstrate products. By these actions we were able to eliminate the cost of an ineffective outside sales-force, and to pass the savings on to our customers.

  • To make it easier to reach our salesmen, they all have smart phones, individual email, individual toll-free numbers (in addition to our company 800-575-4401), and we publish my direct line 865-293-0230. It is easy to find us on the web at and We also have a YouTube channel.

So, that’s the past, stay tuned for the future. If you have a moment, send me a note at publisher@slipperyrockgazette and stop by our booth #5637 at Coverings.

Thanks for reading,

Rich Hassert

Slippery Rock Gazette Publisher

Help Rich celebrate his FIFTH anniversary!

Call 800-575-4401 before March 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm EST and say you want to celebrate savings! 

You can purchase a Makita 5-inch Variable Speed Grinder Model 9565CV, normally  $168.95 for ONLY $135! 

Heck, you can order two for $270. You do the MATH! There is a limit of 5 to a customer

and remember­—You must order before March 15th at 5:05 pm EST.

There are no rain checks unless Patsy lets us run out of stock. Now is a good time to test our fancy new computer system.

No Sales to Competitors, Distributors or Re-Sellers!