— Interview with Bennett Van Wert —
R&R: Where are you based and how long has the company been in business?
Bennett Van Wert: DWM Comprehensive Facility Solutions is a 22-year-old company with offices in Latham, New York, and Orlando, Florida.
R&R: What trades/services do you offer retailers and restaurants?
Van Wert: DWM is a full-service facility solutions company that specializes inside the box. Under our three divisions (Facilities Maintenance, Construction & Renovation, and Water Filtration), we handle anything from day-to-day break-fix items, preventive maintenance programs and water filtration to FF&E, rollouts and full remodels.
R&R: In what regions of the country do you conduct most of your business, or are you nationwide?
Van Wert: DWM services clients across North America. On the Facilities Maintenance side, we service national clients through strong technician partnerships — our techs have an average tenure of over 7 years! Our Construction & Renovation team travels the country to provide on-site project management for FF&E work, remodels, retrofits and brand refreshes.
R&R: What makes your company’s “signature service” stand out in the industry?
Van Wert: DWM is passionate about problem-solving; we thrive on finding best-in-class solutions and top-notch troubleshooting. We pride ourselves on the level of partnership and customization we provide to our clients.
Rather than acting like a vendor, our service coordinators and project managers act as if they are an employee of our client’s organization, ensuring long term cost control. Our commitment to be the best in the world has created a culture of continuous improvement, exemplified by the fact that our original client is still with us 22 years later!
R&R: Name some highlights and successes from 2018 you’re proud of, and your plans to continue or grow that success in 2019.
Van Wert: We are proud to stay true to who we are: a team of passionate problem-solvers. Our commitment to our company’s culture and employees has created an amazing work atmosphere that leads to success — for both us and our clients.
Our continued success has led to significant growth, resulting in the change of our overarching brand name to DWM Comprehensive Facility Solutions to better portray our service offerings.
As DWM continues to grow each division, we want to ensure we are viewed as a comprehensive solution for break-fix, construction, renovation, FF&E and water filtration. We believe this new brand update paints a clear picture of what DWM can handle.
With all of this, we can’t forget to mention our philanthropic efforts! We have raised a 2-year total of $27,700 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society through our DWM Cares initiative.
We are looking forward to continuing our growth through the personalization of our services to match the needs of our clients.
R&R: What kind of feedback do you receive from clients?
Van Wert: I think this one would be better answered by our clients: “I appreciate the personal touch and being able to have some piece of mind knowing that if anything came up, I could count on DWM to make sure things were done and done right.” “What makes DWM unique is their ability to be detail-oriented. They listen. And then form the best program for your business.” “Being a partner rather than a provider is important. And that’s what DWM is.” “You guys have been there for me. Your partnership makes my job easier.” “Downgrading emergency calls — that shows me a partnership and that’s what we need.” “DWM anticipates needs and gets the job done without hand-holding.”
R&R: Why should owner/operators choose your company to be their next vendor partner?
Van Wert: Like our clients say, we strive to make every day easier for each of our customers. We work with you to come up with the best solution for your company: a discount store has different needs than a luxury retailer, while there is a higher emphasis on safety for a children’s retailer.
Our job is to make you look good. We act with your best interest in mind in terms of time-to-complete and cost-savings. We love to problem-solve and think outside of the box to come up with the best long term solutions for our clients.
R&R: How many retail/restaurant clients do you have, and is that sector growing for you?
Van Wert: DWM services 34 national brands. The retail and restaurant industries continue to be at the core of what we do, but the successes in these industries have been translating to success in other verticals (healthcare, grocery) over the past couple of years.
R&R: What trends are you seeing in the industry, and how do you predict 2019 to shape up?
Van Wert: We believe we’ll see brick and mortar stabilize and grow. There are so many strong brands who continue to thrive and many others opening and adding new locations. In the retail industry, companies who embrace the omnichannel landscape, while committing to the in-store experience, will yield the most success. As we head into ’19, we expect to hear less of the “retail apocalypse” that has been so over-blown and begin focusing on brands who are thriving by changing the entire retail landscape through new store experiences and offerings.
As times continue to change, we see technology becoming more and more important to both retailers and service-providers. One of the challenges that we foresee is how to integrate new technologies, but not lose the partnership and personal touch.
— This article originally appeared in the December 2018/January 2019 “Signature Vendor Spotlight” issue of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business magazine. For more information on upcoming “Signature Vendor Spotlight” opportunities, please email Associate Publisher Scott Royal at [email protected] or call 404-832-8262.