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Waterstone Faucets Honored as 2016 Region IX Small Business Exporter of the Year

Murrieta-base kitchen faucet manufacturer overcomes barriers to export by making design changes for some of its products; uses U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Key Program; number of employees nearly double from FY12 to FY14
Release Date: 
Friday, April 15, 2016
Release Number: 
16-11
Advisory Date: 
Friday, April 15, 2016
Advisory Number: 
16-11
Contact: 
Doug Dare, (714) 560-7467 or Christopher Lorenzana, (714) 560-7453

Santa Ana, CA –The U.S. Small Business Administration has selected Murrieta, California based Waterstone Faucets as the Region IX Exporter of the Year.   Waterstone Faucets, which was nominated for the award by Bruce Coleman and Kimberly Davidson of the City of Murrieta Economic Development Department, is a vertically integrated kitchen faucet manufacturer that was started in 1999 by Christopher Kuran, a Naval Academy graduate and US Marine Officer. In addition to competing against nominees from across the Santa Ana District, which covers the Southern California counties of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino, the company also secured the Region IX Exporter of the Year honors, representing the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the territory of Guam in the National Small Business Week competition.

Kuran, who is currently serving as Committee Chairman of the Inland Empire District Export Council, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce to promote international commerce, had experience in entrepreneurial ventures prior to starting Waterstone Faucets.  He started his first business, a plumbing company called Amartec in 1987 after transitioning from military service, and ran that company for three years before selling it, later working for American Builders Hardware as its head of operations.  In 2001, Waterstone took out an SBA loan for $150,000 in order to start its kitchen faucet program, and immediately paid the loan back when the company took off with new sales from its success.  Years later when the opportunity came to buy a building, the company bought its current facility at 41180 Raintree Court in Murietta for $3.2 million in 2014 using an SBA loan to make the purchase.

The company began exporting in earnest four years ago, focusing on Canada.  After researching distributors selling to their target market, Waterstone found a partner in Nortesco, which had been selling to their target market for nearly 40 years, and signed a multi-year agreement, Waterstone’s first international business partnership.  Sales from this partnership have grown to more than $500,000 annually, and based on this success, the company plans to expand even further internationally and enter into commerce in 3-5 countries over the next 5 years. 

In 2015, during a trip to Japan to review machines the company was interested in buying, Waterstone reached out to the U.S. Department of Commerce to see if they could get introduced to distributors while they were in the country.  The US representative to Japan met with the company and introduced them to an ideal distributor in a country that is considered a difficult export market. 

One of the biggest challenges for the company has been making its products compliant per the building code in the countries they wish to export and sell into.  To overcome this issue, Waterstone expanded its domestic compliance to include international compliance, which necessitated design changes for some of its products, as well as research and submission to federal compliance boards for the specific countries targeted for sales. 

Waterstone Faucets will be recognized and receive its award as Region IX Exporter of the Year at the local Small Business Week Awards program which will be held Tuesday, May 3 from 10:30 a.m. until approximately 2 p.m. at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom.  The event is being hosted by the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  For more information on the event or to register, email events@ochcc.com or call 714.953.4289.

About Small Business Week

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.  As part of National Small Business Week, the agency takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others at local events around the country.  Every day, these individuals are working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.  For more information, please visit www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw

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