Texas Member Road Trippin’

Small towns, brisket, Buc-ee’s, and Southern hospitality made up our “Texas Road Trip” as we visited and toured some of our member’s businesses.

Had to stop at Shipley’s for some sweet treats for our members — best donuts ever!

EDmarket recently enjoyed embarking on a three-day road trip to Texas with some of our fellow members. Our goal was to visit various manufacturers and dealers and look inside their operations. While we had planned to tour factories and showrooms and interview owners, we soon realized that the most impactful part of the trip was the personal conversations we had with the people we met. We were struck by the sense of family and shared purpose that seemed to permeate each business we visited. It was inspiring to see everyone working together toward both business goals and the well-being of their employees. This trip gave us a valuable perspective on what sets these companies apart and how we can better serve our members.

Nothing beats a private tour of the USA Capitol factory by Todd Mantz!

Day One | Central Texas

Our first stop was USA Capitol in Belton. President Todd Mantz met with us and took us on a factory tour— we can’t wait to come back and see the brand-new facility that was nearing completion. It’s finished, check it out. Founded in 1986, USA Capitol is a family-owned business that takes a lot of pride in its name as they source all materials from the good ol’ USA!

Artcobell’s impressive interactive showroom

Next, we stopped by Artcobell and met with VP of Operations, Kevin Smith and Director of Marketing, Alison DeMartino for an impressive showroom and factory tour. Plus, they showed us their innovative learning space that trains school districts on how to effectively incorporate their new products into daily teaching and learning.

Indeco’s Noah Mays is an awesome showroom tour guide.

Indeco Sales welcomed us into their dealer showroom, and it was like a teacher’s playground there!  Their showroom allows a buyer to view a variety of products from many different manufacturers. We met with Managing Partner, Noah Mays, whose grandfather started the company and he discussed how they remain a very family-focused company and treat their customers like old friends.

Day Two | Dallas, TX

Worthington Direct leadership (Jason Miles, Crimson Allen, Brian Heiland) posing near their catalog wall with Kelly & Heather.

Our first visit of the day was to the kind folks at Worthington Direct. With over 26 years of experience in the school equipment and furniture industry, they are a distributor that started with a traditional product catalog and has evolved into a leading online dealer. Once again, we met an expert, detailed-driven team whose passion is taking care of the customer to maintain and cultivate lifelong partnerships.

Mark Hubbard, Paragon President, and Delia Munoz keeping the energy high in the factory!

We headed slightly west from Worthington over to Arlington, TX, home of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers! In the shadows of those impressive stadiums sits the Paragon company factory and showroom.  Paragon President, Mark Hubbard gave us a factory tour, as the workers were greeted by handshakes and fist bumps. We continued to see many family members working together and the importance of fine craftsmanship in all areas. I must also mention we were treated to the Paragon swag shop and expanded our wardrobe a bit! Who doesn’t love free swag?

Day Three | North Texas

Time for a break in NorvaNivel showroom – Kelly is working Heather hard on this trip!

Next, we stopped by to visit the NorvaNivel team. Their innovative products focus on agile learning that meets the needs of all students, including those with special sensory needs. We wanted to touch and feel everything they had! NorvaNivel designs and manufactures everything they sell; they literally have people cutting and sewing everything by hand with amazing talent and skill. Their company motto: “Creating impactful learning environments where not one but every learner is engaged.”

The innovative products at Lonestar Furnishings shine bright in their showroom!

Continuing a bit north we visited with President Ben Harrick and V.P. of Sales Rhonda Ellington as we toured the extensive dealer showroom of Lone Star Furnishings, another teacher wonderland! Lone Star prides itself on its ability to customize many pieces to fit the unique needs of a space. They have everything from desks and chairs to lounge and office furniture to unique reading spaces for a library or common area. It was evident that Lone Star takes pride in their service and ensuring the expectations of their customers are exceeded.

Well, that is a wrap y’all for our first-ever EDmarket member road trip! We hope to expand this program and do some road trippin’ in another state. Our next road trip will be in the Charlotte area, home to EDspaces, in November. Would you like to show off your great teams and facilities? Just drop Kelly Fisher a note and we’ll put you on the list.

Where should we go after? No matter what direction we head, we are grateful to have our EDmarket members along for the journey!

Heather Tuley, M.Ed., EDmarket

Heather is currently the Program & Content Manager for EDmarket. She has been working for schools and education associations for over twenty years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in education leadership, as well as a school principal certification.

Kelly Fisher, EDmarket

Kelly brings a wealth of experience as the Marketing Director for EDmarket. With a strong background working with national clients from a variety of industries, Kelly has spent over 18 years specializing in the education sector. Her unique blend of marketing and design expertise provides a fresh perspective to the EDmarket association.