Thursday, May 28, 2020


Like most of you, during the past 9 weeks while social distancing to combat COVID-19, I now stand back (from 6 ft or more) and marvel at how the entire telecommunications industry was able to quickly and seamlessly adapt to a rapidly changing work environment.

As many of you have seen from my messages over the last couple of months, here at Comstar Supply our first priority is the protection and health of our employees and customers. During this time, we created a dedicated COVID-19 team that meets nearly daily as we continue to implement new precautions into our work life. Hopefully, by the time you read this, we’ll have some of the limitations lifted by local government and pivot to allowing more employees back into the office with strict guidelines so that all of us remain safe and healthy.

While it’s still too early to tell if all of these safety measures become the norm, I know for us here at Comstar Supply, we're making permanent changes in how we build our operations. My team is now more focused than ever on modeling customer demand, production, supply chain and logistics, to better serve our customers. We are fully committed to information sharing and keeping vendors, partners and customers updated on market trends and conditions. And we’ve increased our stock levels and feel no other distribution partner can match our one-day delivery of essential outside plant material.

As our industry begins to ramp up build projects, Comstar Supply is there for our customers at a moment’s notice. We understand you are looking for increased support in this time of change and uncertainty. Our goal is to provide that by providing a customer experience unlike any other, focusing on the tenants of product fulfillment, on-time logistics, 100% order accuracy, and a laser-focused approach to information sharing and service.

With that, this quarter’s theme for our digital newsletter is safety and personal protection equipment (PPE). We’ve certainly experienced an increase in demand for products like signage, masks, sanitizer, and wearable PPE, and so we’re highlighting a few of those products in this newsletter. You can also read more about our exclusive partnership with Sword Performance, which is a specially-formulated, drinkable PPE for workers with high stress or high heat jobs.

A lot of exciting news continues to pour out of Comstar Supply. However, we miss the face-to-face engagement with you, our customers. We miss the personal interaction. We miss the laughs and good times. We miss the bad golf shots and long for the good ones. It is my sincere hope that some time this summer there is a return to a sense of normalcy that will allow for us to spend valuable time together.

Until then, stay connected with us. Reach out to your sales manager, or inside sales rep, or even myself, with comments, questions, concerns – or even just to say hi. It’s these personal connections that will carry us through the difficult times.

Thank you for your continued business and trust.

Stay safe.



“What About Bob?” was a 1991 comedy film which told the story of a patient who follows his psychiatrist around on a family vacation. Our Bob – Bob Hipp – promises not to do that to our customers, but he does exhibit some of the positive traits portrayed by the character in the movie such as having a great work ethic and treating people well.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting or talking with Bob, Comstar’s Regional Sales Manager for PA and Western NY, he’s a storyteller – and a damn fine one at that. So, what about OUR Bob?

Q: Tell me your favorite story.  
Bob: Before I start to ramble, I would like to congratulate my daughter, Emily, on her graduation from Temple University this May!  Corona derailed her ceremony but not her spirit.
Bob and his family celebrating Emily's graduation

My favorite work story is my first real lesson in communication and something I share whenever I work with someone new to our business.
In my first sales job, I had a customer in Hammond, LA, who bought two hundred TV remote controls from me because he was a CATV operator and was setting up a tent at the local grocery store to sign up new subscribers.  He ordered them on a Wednesday and asked that I ship them UPS 2nd day air so he would get them on Friday. 

Young and aggressive, I wrote the order and hand carried it to our Sales Coordinator Diane.  I handed the order to Diane and proclaimed, “SHIP THESE UPS 2-DAY!” as my customer requested.  Diane shipped them UPS ground that afternoon.  He didn’t get them on time.  I killed his event.  

After some discussion in the office (this was during the stone age of hand-written orders), we figured out that Diane heard me exclaim “SHIP THESE UPS TODAY!”  That simple lesson has helped shape my career.  I see one of my primary responsibilities as anticipating and avoiding mistakes by really understanding what’s going on and communicating that as best I can.

Q: How and when did you join Comstar? 
Bob: I started in June of 2014. 

Comstar's Bob Hipp
I was working as a manufacturer rep and was looking to get back into distribution.  I interviewed with a distributor and had an offer on the table.  Many years ago, Earl Punchard (Founder of Comstar and whom I had never met personally) called me because he had heard that I was making a move.  I remember the conversation as being so pleasant and supportive from someone I didn’t know.  He basically wished me luck and told me if I ever wanted to move again to call him.  I promised him I would. 

Not long after that conversation, Earl passed away.  I “met” him at his funeral service.  That phone call stayed with me for years and impacted me to the point that, when I was ready to make another job move, I felt compelled in some way to “tell” Earl and Comstar. 

I didn’t feel I knew Chad well enough to share that phone call with him so I called Mike Hartwick—a Comstar employee, friend and colleague I had known for 20 years.  I just wanted Mike to know.  I wanted to keep my promise to Earl.  I called Mike.  Mike called Chad.  Chad called me.  We met the next day.  I really didn’t think there was any way I would work at Comstar as I had a very fair offer on the table from a good company.  Chad, Todd and I talked for an hour.  I was hooked.  Best move I ever made.  Thanks Earl!

Q: In your opinion, what’s the best thing about working at Comstar? 
Bob: The people, right?  Isn’t that what everyone says?  And that is definitely part of it.  The culture here is amazing and supportive and generous and loving and fun.  I am closer to the end of my career than the beginning and I am so lucky to be at a place that feels like home.

Q: What would you say about your customers? 
Bob: Simply that many of them have become friends.  Honest, hard-working people who, as we sit here, are working through some pretty difficult conditions.

Q: What would your customers say about you? 
Bob: Hopefully, that I am honest in my dealings with them.  That is extremely important to me.

Q: You’re very philanthropic and involved in your local community, how did you get started in that and what are some of the organizations that you serve? 
Bob: In my early 20's, I may or may not have gotten into a little trouble with the law.  I was sentenced to community service.  My first “volunteer” work was in patient transport at a local hospital.  I used to wheel patients in chairs or in beds to X-ray or a dozen other places within the hospital.  Many times, they were suffering.  I always tried to make them smile, at least for a second.  That small gesture would help them feel better and made me feel great! 

I always tell people looking to volunteer that I do it because I am selfish….it makes me feel better about myself!  I am currently a member and past President of Perkasie Rotary, an amazing organization.  In my history, I have been involved in everything from Special Olympics to Homeowners organizations to various non-profits.  Get this….I am “on the Board” of the local free library!  Shout out here to my wife Donna and daughter Emily.  I drag them into every volunteer event that I work.  They are great at it and I think it has provided Emily with a great foundation. 

Q: You’re also a big Philly sports fan – stack rank the teams in terms of your passion? 
Bob: Finally, an easy one. EAGLES, FLYERS, PHILLIES, SIXERS.

Q: I also know you golf from time to time, who’s in your dream foursome? 
Bob: Living?  Tiger is a definite.  Charles Barkley is the guy in my cart and George W Bush. “W” is an odd one for me politically, but I think he is so misunderstood as a person.  It would be cool to get to know him.  He and I would ride together on the back nine.  Wait!  Second nine.  If we are dreaming, we might as well play Augusta.

Q: One more story? 
Bob: You asked for it!  This story comes with a photo.  I am not in said photo.  In 1983, I worked at a movie theater.  It was one of the old-time main street type theaters with the roof over the sidewalk and the marquee above. 

My friend Jim and I were seniors in high school and we both worked there.  We were only 17 but they gave us keys to the theater so we could lock up at night.  I think they probably changed that policy in June of ’83! 

Anyway, the Sixers win the NBA title.  Jim and I call each other and a bunch of our friends and we all met at Hatboro Theater.  Hatboro was one of those towns where they would close the main drag as people poured into the street to celebrate. 

We unlocked the theater, propped the side door open and went up onto the roof in front of the marquee.  We took the movie names off the marquee and replaced them with “SIXER NO ONE” “DR J” AND “LAKERS SUCK”.  Our 17-year old brains thought “who from Budco (they owned the theater and a few others) is gonna be in Hatboro.  No way we get caught!” 
Local newspaper photo of the marquee, Bob and his friends.

The next day (que photo) we were on the front page of the local newspaper.  The regional manager, whom I had never met, called the theater and told the manger to fire us.  For years, I kept that newspaper and told that story with long lost teenaged pride. 

Fast forward to 2008, my family and I moved to a new house.  One day, I’m cutting the grass and there’s my next-door neighbor. We introduce ourselves and start talking.  His name was Charlie Fogel.  I asked him what he did for a living and he says, “Well, I am retired now but I worked in the movie theater business for 35 years.”  I thought for a second and said, “Charlie Fogel!  You fired me from Hatboro Theater in 1983!!”

That’s right.  25 years after the 1983 Sixers Championship, I randomly moved in next door to the guy who fired me!  Charlie has since passed away, but we had a great laugh that day and he lives with me forever.  On a side note, everyone I know has probably already heard this story at least once so sorry to all of you.

Celebrating Five Years in North Carolina

This month is a special time for Comstar Supply. It represents a moment when five years ago we first planted our flag in the Tar Heel State. And normally we’d be celebrating this milestone together at our annual customer appreciation pig roast, but due to social distancing requirements we’re postponing that event to a date later in the Fall which we will publicize once plans are finalized.

In lieu of a customer celebration this month, we did still feel the need to show support for the Raleigh community to recognize our anniversary, and so this past Monday we partnered with the Wake Med Garner Healthplex to provide them with 140 meals for their essential workers and respective families.

“We’ve enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with our expansion into North Carolina and couldn’t have done it without the support of the local Garner community,” said Comstar Supply President Chad Punchard. “Our recent donation to Wake Med is just a small token of our appreciation and a special thanks to the essential health care workers who serve the Garner area.”

All of this success and growth would also not be possible without the support of our customers, manufacturers, partners and employees. We’ve been humbled by the warm welcome, yet given the reputation of the community, expected nothing less.

Our goal in expanding to North Carolina was simple yet universal to our success over the last 25 years – provide operational excellence and laser-focused customer service that separates us from the competition. As we look back on the last five years, we feel we’ve delivered on that end.

So, thank you for your continued support. We hope this note finds you all safe and look forward to seeing you at our anniversary celebration in North Carolina this Fall.


William Frick

Frick is a manufacturer of specialty labeling and marking products. They pride themselves on engineering, designing, and manufacturing custom, high-quality solutions for each and every customer. Since 1975, Frick has established itself as a reliable, innovative, and trusted part of its customers’ and suppliers’ businesses.

The company is manufacturing a number of safety products that range from utility and telecom markers to custom signage and other security markers. We are highlighting two such products this month.

Antimicrobial Film
Frick's now sells products including Antimicrobial Film that kills up to 99.99% of germs and bacteria, Anti-Slip Floor Labels to help promote social distancing, CDC Signs and Labels to inform the community of ways to prevent and identify COVID-19 symptoms.
Antimicrobial Film can be applied on both indoor and outdoor surfaces such as door handles, trash cans, handrails, elevator buttons, grocery cart handles, and many more surfaces.
The silver embedded within the film activates with heat, light, pressure and sale from fingertips. Once activated, the silver releases ions that attach to and starve the microbes which prevents replication and keeps the surface clean.

COVID Signs and labels
William Frick also has multiple signs and labels clearly marking COVID-19 guidelines and ensure CDC procedures are followed. The standard size is 18” x 10.125” available in permanent or adhesive sign constructions.

To learn more or see a sample of any product in the Comstar Supply portfolio, please contact your Comstar Sales Representative today or call us at 866-326-6782.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Comstar Supply Adds Sword Performance to Product Portfolio

Comstar Supply is now an exclusive distributor of the Sword Performance hydration system of products. Developed by scientists, this new approach as Drinkable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), is a 100% natural, healthy hydration alternative that will increase production and performance during high heat and high stress work environments. 

Maintaining the right fluid and electrolyte balance means that your body works better. It can better regulate its temperature and can better supply fuel and oxygen to your muscles and brain. What this means for you and your team in the field is that heat stress becomes a reduced concern, muscles work longer and more consistently without cramping, recovery is faster, thinking remains clear. The job gets done more quickly and safely. 
Relentlessly focusing on proper body fluid movement, SWORD® and SHIELD® taste delicious and are formulated from natural, healthy ingredients that your body knows how to process. No matter the task or environment you encounter, SWORD will keep you sharp and SHIELD always has you covered. 

For extreme heat, stress, and physical environments. 

SWORD is a revolutionary carbohydrate-electrolyte drink formulated to help maintain hydration and improve productivity, even in the most challenging conditions. SWORD supplies a steady supply of sodium electrolytes and carbohydrate fuel with ultra-smooth digestion and absorption. SWORD is clean, easy to drink, certified gluten-free, and contains only 6 natural ingredients - no artificial colors, preservatives, or sweeteners. 

SWORD’s all-natural, real-fruit flavors (Berry, Pineapple Mango, Orange, and Lemonade) are available in: 
·         20 fl oz Ready-to-Drink Bottles 
·         16.9 fl oz Powder Singles 
·         2.2 Gallon Powder Pouches 

For every day, light physical, low to mid-stress environments.

SHIELD is a low-calorie, low-sodium electrolyte drink with a purpose: to provide a great tasting, healthy option to quench thirst and stay hydrated without highly processed sugars or artificial ingredients. SHIELD helps your workforce prevent dehydration, improve mental clarity, and maintain productivity. 
SHIELD’s all-natural, real-fruit flavors (Berry, Pineapple Mango, Orange, and Lemonade) are available in: 
·         12 fl oz Ready-to-Drink Bottles 
·         fl oz Freezer Pops 
·         16.9 fl oz Powder Singles 
·         .55 lb Gallon Powder Pouches 

Contact your Comstar Supply representative for more information and protect your workforce with healthy hydration.