As one of the most recognized brands in construction and home repair, Sakrete, has evolved from a convenient, high-quality bagged concrete mix to a variety of premium packaged building materials. Seventy-five years ago, Art and Mary Avril created the Sakrete concrete business after Art saw the need for packaged concrete. At his ready-mix concrete business in Cincinnati, Art encountered countless people needing concrete for minor home projects but who did not need the standard cubic yard. Art reasoned there might be a market for a bag of dry concrete and mortar that homeowners could mix and use as needed; he was correct. The container—a multi-wall paper bag with a moisture barrier—resulted in a product of high quality and long shelf life. Of note, Art was also the first to provide concrete specified for strength, not proportion, which continues today.
The Avrils sold distributors and retail dealers on the idea of convenience. No cement, sand or gravel to shovel, just buy a sack of Sakrete. That sold customers who had no experience mixing concrete but still had a job to do. They grew the brand with partners throughout the country, and later the world, who purchased licenses to produce Sakrete.
For the last 25 years, Sakrete has seen an expansive product development to meet the ever-changing needs of customers. Some of the more recent products introduced under the Sakrete brand: Flo-Coat Concrete Resurfacer, a highly flowable material for resurfacing large areas of concrete; U.S. Cold Patch, an environmentally friendly asphalt product that repairs potholes, cracks, and depressions; Paver Set Polymeric Sand, a mixture of sand and special additives for filling paving stone joints; and, Maximizer, a high-strength, high-yield concrete mix. Sakrete’s products are developed through consumer insight, issues and/or problems. Consumers can also pitch product ideas on Sakrete’s website, www.sakrete.com.
Since June 2010, the Sakrete website has provided customers with project videos and quantity calculators. Although Sakrete project videos are not new—they were first introduced around 3–4 years ago on YouTube and how-to websites—the videos are now more aimed at homeowners. The how-to videos are designed to show that projects are not as intimidating as may be perceived. They make it easy for a consumer to understand how a Sakrete product can help with their project. Sakrete also provides a how-to sheet and a shopping list to ensure the consumer has everything they need to complete the task.
Additionally, Johnsie Beck, president–Sakrete of North America, noted, “A lot of video use has expanded because of current economic times. Many contractors are using the videos to train and educate themselves to get into a concrete-related mind set to enhance their skills and expand their marketability.” The calculator tool is the most popular feature of the website, garnering about 60 to 65 percent of the website users. It allows users to easily figure out exactly how much of a product they need to buy for their project. Furthermore, the company recently introduced a mobile site with similar features found on the full site.
Twenty-five years ago, Sakrete was mostly sold at lumberyards and the like. Today, 65 to 70 percent of Sakrete’s products are sold at home-improvement centers, such as Home Depot and Lowes’. The company has unique production capabilities throughout North America with more than 45 plants, allowing it to follow its customers and potential customers. Products are available throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The Sakrete brand is owned and managed by Charlotte, N.C.-based Bonsal American Inc., an Oldcastle company.“Sakrete has been the pro’s choice for contractors and do-it-yourselfers longer than any other brand in the market. We have a reputation for offering innovative and readily available products along with outstanding technical and customer support,” Beck said.
So, where does the company see itself in the next 25 years? Beck believes Sakrete will be doing the same thing it has been doing: “We’re going where the customer is going.”