Columbia Tools Company Profile Interview With Aaron St James

Columbia Profile Square

Columbia Tools is a Canadian owned and operated automatic and semi-automatic drywall taping tool manufacturer. For over 40 years Columbia has been synonymous with quality. Columbia Tools was founded in 1979 by Bernie St. James. Bernie was a drywall boarder and taper. 

Over the years he perfected his own drywall tools and worked on what would become Columbia Tools by night. At first though, Bernie had an investment opportunity for a company that manufactured their own automatic taping tools. Before a product was even launched, the company went under. Fortunately, Bernie was able to walk away with a company at the initial cost of his investment.

Luckily we were able to get an interview with Columbia Tools`Aaron St. James to talk about the history of the company, trials and tribulations, and what is on the horizon for Columbia Taping Tools. 

Why did Bernie start his own tool taping company?

Bernie started Columbia Taping Tools in 1979, he was a drywall contractor at the time and the reason for starting the business was to do with the fact that you could only rent the tools at the time and he thought there should be an option to buy tools, the patent for Ames had just run out so he started his way to making the Columbia Brand.

How did Columbia become a well known name in the taping tools industry?

Columbia Became a well known name in the Taping Tool industry by continually working towards making quality tools for the end user and making sure that they received the best support for their tools throughout the life of their product. That dedication still holds true to this day, when you buy a product from Columbia you can trust that you will be supported if ever needed no matter how big or how small.

What are the core values of the Columbia Brand?

Columbia’s Core values are Honesty, Integrity and Value, we’ve always strived to make the best product for the best price, we continually invest in innovation and materials to make the tools better as well as maintain a price point that is attractive to the customer. Also we have the strongest warranty in the business, we will go the extra mile to make sure that the product stands the test of time.

What were the biggest challenges to overcome when starting Columbia Tools?

The biggest challenge to overcome was trying to make a line of tools and create brand awareness while still having to be a drywall contractor to make ends meet. Building the business took a lot of money and time, both of which were stretched at the time.

What was the biggest accomplishment of Columbia Tools over the past 40 years?

The biggest accomplishment would be being known and trusted as a household name in Taping Tools all over the world, when the company was first started western Canada was the goal, to be used all over the world today is an amazing accomplishment.

As the new year is coming up, what is next for Columbia Tools in the year 2023, do you have any new or improved products planned?

We are always working on improving our products, because we manufacture our own parts. Every time we produce a new run of a part we look at what we can improve on for each part. Right now, we are looking to come out with a 5.5” Fat Boy Box in 2023.

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