When Faith Roberts, owner of Banner Canvas in Ham Lake, Minnesota, left bridal design in 1986 to pursue a career in marine fabrication, she sought out an industry expert for advice. That’s when she met the late Bob Weldon, former branch manager at Trivantage.
“Bob was a wonderful friend and mentor,” Roberts recalled. “He did a lot for me and for our industry.” In the early days, when Roberts had a question about dying fabrics or where to find a finishing company, Weldon was ready with an answer: “I could always rely on Bob to help me figure out a problem.”
Roberts has worked in the marine fabrication industry for more than 40 years, but perhaps her most impressive accolade is that she purchased the company she worked for — and her current company, Banner Canvas — after only a year of experience. “When the owners were ready to sell, they thought I had the right talent to take over and keep the brand name strong,” she said.
Roberts built her robust clientele solely through word of mouth, noting: “Potential customers would approach me because they had seen my work at their friends’ houses.” When asked how she provides value to her customers, she explained the importance of technicality. “You have to understand the products and how one product is better for a certain location and project than another,” she said. “This comes with an understanding of the market and fabric engineering.”
When asked what makes a good supplier, Roberts emphasized the importance of relationships and drew parallels to her partnership with Trivantage.
“The truly best suppliers invest their time and develop a long-term relationship — I know I can call them if I have any questions,” she said. “Bob was a true partner and did not view our customer relationship as transactional.”
Today, Roberts relies on Trivantage account representative T.J. McGillis, who has guided her through several projects. She also turned to Trivantage to outfit a 30-foot slipper launch, a traditional Thames River pleasure boat. It was fabricated with Sunbrella® marine fabric in Ivy and Hemlock Tweed.
For more information on how Trivantage can assist with your next project, contact your sales representative, shop trivantage.com, or call us at 800-786-1876. Be sure to contact your sales representative and share your story with us and we may include it in a future Market Corner.