TOTO is holy hero
Posted by Rob Heselbarth on April 17, 19100 at 16:21:14:

TOTO's State-of-the-Art Manufacturing plant in Morrow, Georgia.

By Rob Heselbarth
Of Contractor�s staff

SHEBOYGAN, WIS.� When God needed a new home for the Southside Alliance Church here, his followers began building him a new one. When a local bathroom products manufacturer backed out of a deal to supply the church with plumbing equipment, Toto stepped forward and donated the $50,000 in plumbing supplies in its place. Southside�s pastor was convinced God led him to Toto in the church�s time of need.

Toto�s donation of $50,000 in plumbing supplies to the Southside Alliance Church was a blessing to parishioners. Pastor Dan Crom (second from left) awards Dan Tungett, Toto USA (center), a toilet seat halo with help from Deacon Jerry Gora (second from right) and Tom Barrett (right) of Water Provisions.

Construction of the church�s new $2.6 million facility was on track in spring 1999 when pastor Dan Crom received word from a local manufacturer that the deal to donate plumbing equipment would not go through. Not knowing where to turn, Crom searched the Internet for plumbing manufacturers and discovered Toto, a company he had never heard of.

Toto directed Crom to Tom Barrett, its representative in Green Bay, about 60 miles away. Barrett, president of Water Provisions and a deacon himself, immediately promised Crom he would help the church, but was uncertain about exactly how much he could do. When Barrett forwarded the spec sheet for the church to Toto�s headquarters in Atlanta the cost was slightly more than Toto anticipated, but when Toto realized the market opportunities in Sheboygan and surrounding areas, it found the money for the extra cost.

�We had no budget for our plumbing supplies because of the promise that was made to us from that other company,� Crom said. �When we found out they were backing out, first we said �whoa� and then we thanked God for Toto.�

Toto donated 25 toilets, 25 sinks and several other fixtures and fittings. Haucke Plumbing and Heating of Plymouth, Wis., was recruited for the installation.

�We had heard of Toto before this experience but had never used or installed their product,� said Jim Haucke, project manager. �I'd say their products would stack up against anything I've ever seen. Some toilets flush better than others and theirs does a very good job.

�We've been talking about carrying Toto since the church installation. When we were done we thought that we wouldn't hesitate to carry Toto. I could see us down the road giving them the opportunity to quote us for supplies on commercial jobs. We were satisfied and pleased with the product and the ease of installation,� Haucke said.

Parishioners wanted to be in the church section of the building by Christmas so many hours of overtime were worked, he added, because finishing the restrooms involved drywall, paint and a lot of other tasks to get it completed and on time.

The original completion date was August 1999. After subsequent completion dates were missed in October and November, the 200 parishioners were able to have their Christmas Eve services in the building. Three weeks later the rest of the facility was completed. The dedication ceremony for the new facility was held in February.

�We are thankful for the good work that Tom (Barrett) provided to us. I believe he was sent by God to help us out. It was a good thing for him to get Toto�s name in this area because no one had heard of Toto around here. Some members of our congregation are contractors and they were looking at the toilets and saying, �We�ve never seen toilets function like this before.� Contractors are looking to Toto now to supply them with toilets,� Crom said.

Toto donated some of its best equipment including automatic urinal flushers, lavatories and their best quality two-piece gravity-flush toilets, Barrett said. His company also donated steel sinks, some faucets and drains. The deal clincher was Crom�s offer to allow Barrett to use the church�s facilities free of charge for product education classes and seminars and for demonstrations of the Toto equipment.

�This opportunity came to me and I took it,� Barrett said. �But I have now become David in a battle with the local manufacturing Goliath who was supposed to supply the equipment in the first place. But I�m just one guy trying to make a living here and am not out to crush anyone.� Crom related the experience to his congregation during a Sunday sermon in February on the day of the dedication ceremony for the completed facility. A special blessing was said for the toilets, sinks, urinals and for Toto.

�The company is truly doing the Lord�s work up here in Sheboygan,� Crom said. �The congregation was left out in the cold, and Toto came along and saved us.�

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