Experts on Evolving Products & Technology

Interview with Tim Meile, Outside Sales

What is the company’s history?

In the 1890s, Clarence Montague opened a clay pot manufacturing plant in Denver, which was the beginning of American Clay Works & Supply Company (now ACW Supply). Since all plant containers in those days were made of clay, the company flourished, being close to a clay source in Golden and easy rail shipping into Denver. As plastic became the plant container material of choice in the 1970s, the company’s product diversification strategy, which began after WWII, started to pay off. Fueled by the carnation boom in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the company added greenhouse supplies and expanded its customer base. By 1983, the clay pot manufacturing facility was closed but the product line continued to expand. We now stock more than 3,500 different items.

What sets ACW Supply apart from others?

We are a full-service company that offers an extensive product line, and back that up with reliable customer service, from assisting with product selection to order fulfillment. But what really distinguishes us is our vast expertise that we freely share with our customers. We know our products inside and out, and we can explain the pros and cons among similar products and applications. We apply our expertise in many ways that our customers value — from saving them time by buying the right products to assisting them with installation tips with their greenhouse or nursery structures.

How would you describe your market?

About 90 percent of our customers are growers and our product line is focused on the items that meet their needs. The remaining 10 percent to 15 percent are landscapers and other contractors. Our primary market area is along Colorado’s Front Range from Pueblo to Cheyenne, with select markets in New Mexico and Nebraska.

Have the products you sell changed much?

Over the years our core product mix has remained relatively stable. Growing hasn’t changed that much with respect to the basic supplies that growers all use. What has changed are the advancements within the product types. We’re seeing more specialization in soil mixes that produce higher yields, new pesticide formulations that stay ahead of changing bug resistances, and new container configurations that promote better root growth. Again, our expertise stays on top of these changes and keeps our customers well informed.

How are you using information technology?

We have a been using software since 1992, that allows us to look at everything that has happened since then. Technologically what has changed has been that we have a number of websites that we update, and what has changed recently is the advent of social media. We update our Facebook and Instagram pages a few times every week with product information and have more than 1,300 followers that are very engaged.

Why does ACW Supply sponsor CNGA events?

First, we believe in CNGA’s mission and the work you’re doing to strengthen our industry. Secondly, as a 2018 Event Sponsor, we value the opportunity it gives us to interact with our customers and introduce our company to new people. Sponsorship gives us one of the few opportunities during the year to connect with members on a face-to-face basis. We find great satisfaction in that and are proud to support CNGA.

ACW Supply
857 Bryant Street
Denver, Colo. 80204