Personalization and Flexibility Allow Ross Valve Manufacturing to Do More
Bill and Andy Ross, owners of Ross Valve Manufacturing Co., know what they’re doing. As the sixth generation of the Ross family to run the company since its creation in 1879—it’s in their blood. More than their business, it’s their legacy.
Early in 2019, they saw an opportunity to strengthen both with the acquisition of a 45,000-square-foot facility that would expand production and create jobs. They ran the numbers, built out their business plan, and studied the market to make sure this was the right move. And when the numbers were telling them to move forward, they assumed their bank would have their back.
“At that point, you just sit and say, ‘Wow. We know what we do, we know what we’ve done in the community—this is a no-brainer business decision,” Bill said. “What don’t you see?’” The problem was that the bank looked at the opportunity as an entirely new business rather than as an expansion, deeming the risk to be too great.
“Ultimately, you want a bank that’s your partner, that understands the initial vision, believes it, owns it, and grows with you as you grow. You go through good times and bad times, and as you do, you want to keep your partners with you.”
Enter Ken Countermine, VP, commercial banking team leader at Community Bank, N.A.
“A mistake that banks can make is that they think they know all the answers,” Ken said. “The reality is, Bill knows his business better than I ever could and I don’t want to get in the way of that. I’m not driving this ship, I’m a passenger helping to navigate it.”
This approach allowed Ken to look beyond the specific opportunity and see the big picture of how it fits in with the Ross’ business plan. With that perspective, he quickly determined that the Ross’ existing operation could support the new debt on its own.
“It was clear this was a seize-the-moment opportunity,” Ken said. “We didn’t have 3-4 months to decide what the best structure would be. It was: this is the need and this is how quickly we need to get it done.”
Community Bank had the capacity, agility and local decision-making to move forward. In less than three weeks, the commitment to buy the $2.5 million property was signed, putting the Ross brothers in position to grow their business and their legacy.
“I don’t know if I can sum it up better than win-win,” Bill said. “No other bank that we engaged could do that—big, small, medium, local or national. It’s the kind of relationship where suddenly with my mind’s racing with worries and concerns, but once the bank got going, there wasn’t a concern at all. Right up through the closing, they took care of the business and they took care of us.”