Hallmark Building Supplies, Inc. traces its beginnings to founder O. Joseph Balthazor (Joe), current President and Chief Executive Officer. Joe was Vice President of Sales for Lakeside Plywood, a building supplies company in the Milwaukee area from 1964 to 1974. When Lakeside went out of business that year, Joe founded Hallmark.
With the trust, respect and commitment from The Consoweld Corporation of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin and its Dura Beauty brand decorative laminate, and The DuPont Company and its Corian® brand solid surface, Hallmark Building Supplies, Inc. was incorporated in October 1974. From modest office and warehouse space on Mill Road and 48th Street in Milwaukee, Hallmark began distributing Dura Beauty in Wisconsin and Corian® in Southeastern Wisconsin. A "hallmark" is a mark or symbol of genuineness or high quality (Webster's New World Dictionary). When our company was founded, the name Hallmark was selected because we wanted a name that stood for "the best."
Providing a reliable source of supply has always been one of Hallmark’s primary functions. However, since Corian® was a new product in the mid-1970s, finding a reliable source of fabrication was difficult. To ensure reliable supply, Hallmark began fabricating Corian® countertops in 1976. As Hallmark built product demand in the Milwaukee area, the supply of quality fabricators became plentiful and the company returned to focus solely on wholesale distribution.
On Janauary 1st, 1982, at the request of DuPont, Hallmark expanded into Minnesota and opened a branch office in Eden Prairie. Corian® was Hallmark's sole product in Minnesota until September, 1982 when Consoweld’s Dura Beauty was added.
Hallmark was awarded the DuPont™ Tyvek® distributorship in Southeastern Wisconsin in 1988. Based on Hallmark’s success with Tyvek® in Wisconsin, DuPont asked Hallmark to set up distribution in Eastern Missouri including St. Louis in 1989 and Northwestern Missouri including Kansas City in 1990.
By the mid-1990s, Hallmark had sustained significant growth and had evolved into a company that was operating under two different business models: a commodity model, characterized by the laminate business, and a branded model, characterized by Corian® and Tyvek®. The commodity market dictated low prices and no value-added services, while the branded business focused on brand image, marketing, training and a highly-educated sales force committed to assisting customers and driving product business.
In 1996, Hallmark divested the laminate line and all accessories associated with the commodity model. Instead, Hallmark chose to operate on a branded business model, strictly focused on bringing an integrated system of marketing, sales and distribution of branded building materials to the residential and commercial markets it serves. Hallmark began its future under the new business model with DuPont™ Corian® and DuPont™ Tyvek® as its only products.
Hallmark saw history repeat itself in May 2000. DuPont introduced a new product, DuPont™ Zodiaq® quartz surfaces, and Hallmark was one of the first distributors to pilot the launch and inventory the product. Hallmark recognized the niche this product fit in the marketplace; however, there was not a reliable source of fabrication supply. Manufacturing countertops with Zodiaq® required a completely different set of equipment and expertise than Corian®, and only a few of Hallmark’s existing fabricators wanted to enter the hard surfaces market. Knowing that a reliable source of supply was mandatory for a product of this nature, Hallmark created a separate company, Pollux Manufacturing, Inc., in 2003. Pollux is a wholesale, high volume, state-of-the-art hard surfaces manufacturing company and operates one of the only facilities of its kind in the United States. Pollux was sold in July of 2010.
In 2005, Hallmark purchased the assets of a concrete countertop manufacturer and launched Apollo Manufacturing, LLC. Initial manufacturing began in Milwaukee and moved to Minneapolis in 2006. Hallmark also began to carry Soterra Natural Stone Surfacing System products in 2006.
In June 2009, Hallmark was awarded additional DuPont Surfaces geography including the states of Colorado, Utah, Northeastern Nevada, New Mexico, the western edge of Texas, and, eastern Wyoming.
In February 2010, Hallmark was awarded additional DuPont Surfaces geography including the states of Arizona and Southern Nevada. In March 2011, we moved our offices and warehouse to Phoenix, AZ.
In February 2010 Hallmark also forged a unique partnership with DuPont to service the areas of Southern California and Hawaii by providing transaction and logistics for DuPont Surfaces in this area. Gemini Contract Services, LLC was established as a division of Hallmark Building Supplies, Inc. as an independent subcontractor of DuPont to provide the transaction and logistics functions of distribution.
In March 2011, an office and warehouse facility was established in Mira Loma, CA to support Gemini Contract Services and service primarily the Southern California and Hawaii regions.
In March 2012 we continued our unique partnership with DuPont to service the areas of Iowa and Nebraska. And, in October 2012 we will begin servicing Texas and Oklahoma under that same partnership.