World Wide Metric, a global supplier specializing in the distribution of valves, flanges, piping systems and hydraulic components in JIS and DIN, and ANSI standards, is celebrating its 45th anniversary.
In 1970, former ship captain Constantinos Contos, who immigrated to the United States from Greece in 1969, founded a ship repair company in Brooklyn, N.Y. Soon after, he began receiving an abundance of requests for metric valves and flanges from foreign vessels, but despite the demand, metric replacement parts weren’t easy to find stateside.
So Contos improvised; he took an American valve, cut off its flanges, welded on a piece of plate, then drilled holes to match the existing pipeline, and put the valve back in service. Realizing this was not an optimal solution, he saw an opportunity to address the shortage of metric parts in the United States.
Contos searched for suppliers and manufacturers overseas and soon began importing valves and flanges in metric Japanese (JIS) and European (DIN) standards. Sales grew quickly, and by 1985, Contos made the decision to leave the ship repair business altogether and focus solely on the wholesale distribution of metric parts to the marine and industrial markets. He moved the company headquarters from Brooklyn to Somerset, N.J., and just four years later, the company opened its second distribution center in Houston to better serve the Gulf region, and Central and South America. Shortly after, in 1991, a third distribution center in Long Beach, Calif. was established to facilitate growing business in the Western region of the U.S. and Pacific Rim.
In 2000, Constantinos Contos stepped down from his position and passed the helm to his children, who had grown up immersed in the family business. His oldest son, George Contos, who worked at the company since 1985, became World Wide Metric’s new CEO. His brother Theo Contos, with 12 years of experience at the company was promoted to President, and their younger sister Anthee Contos became Vice President. In the past 15 years under the new leadership team, sales have grown over 400 percent.
When asked about the company’s success, CEO George Contos said, “From the very beginning, we have upheld the ideals that my father set forth when he started the company. He believed that ‘serving the customer was the only thing that truly mattered, and that what can be done today, will be done today.’ That is the philosophy that still drives us today and what has set us apart from the competition and driven our success over the years.”
The change in leadership only amplified World Wide Metric’s ambition. To further expand the company’s presence in the U.S. coastal regions, the company opened a fourth distribution center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. in 2004, and by 2008, World Wide Metric was stocking more than 50,000 products and relocated their corporate headquarters to a larger office and warehouse in Branchburg, N.J. In October 2015, World Wide Metric opened its fifth distribution center in Livonia, Mich. to serve the Midwest and central Canadian markets. With operations now in five U.S. locations, the company plans to open additional distribution centers both nationally and internationally.
“We are consistently looking for ways to better serve our customers, and with our fifth distribution center in Michigan, strategically chosen to function as a central supply point for customers in the fluid power industry, there is enormous opportunity for World Wide Metric to significantly grow our business.” George Contos said. “Even though I have been in this business for over 30 years, I am more enthused today than ever before. We pride ourselves on doing a better job today than we did yesterday – always improving – to provide superior service for our customers and be an outstanding partner for our suppliers.”
To commemorate their 45th anniversary, World Wide Metric has released a celebratory logo with the tagline “Keeping The World Flowing for 45 Years” to pay tribute to the company’s legacy as a supplier in the maritime industry.