Beck Companies show off growing empire on Providence Pike

Beck Companies show off growing empire on Providence Pike

Tracey Beck, co-owner of The Beck Companies, stands inside a custom-made office that includes an aquarium at the Beck showroom and manufacturing facilities in North Smithfield. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

NORTH SMITHFIELD – Tracey Beck’s husband keeps acquiring businesses, and each time, with just a slightly exasperated roll of her eyes, she puts her problem-solving talents to work devising plans to fold them into the family’s growing design and manufacturing empire.

The co-owner of The Beck Companies, who once imagined herself a stay-at-home mom, now oversees five merged businesses from an 80,000-square-foot building on Providence Pike.

“Really what I’m trying to do now is unite everything,” Beck told The Breeze this week. “My husband has promised this is it for a while. He’s brutal.”

The Beck story began some 11 years ago with the purchase of a stone fabrication company, later named KB Surfaces. In the years that followed, a granite and marble fabrication company owned by Tracey’s brother-in-law Ken Beck, Atlas Fabrication, merged under the Beck Companies name.

In 2012, the family acquired a custom built storage company, Closettec, and then cabinet and custom woodwork business CAS America, in 2015.

And in 2016, the interconnected businesses relocated from Johnston to 20 Providence Pike in North Smithfield, purchasing a vacant seven-acre lot for $1.7 million.

“It was empty for five years when we bought it and it needed everything,” said Beck of the building. “The only thing we kept was the skeleton.”

In the two years since, the company has completely renovated the structure, with work to the heating and plumbing systems, paint, flooring and roof replacement. Manufacturing facilities were outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, and separate accounting, customer service and engineering divisions were merged and consolidated for greater efficiency.

From the outside, the company, which now consists of five different but connected businesses, doesn’t catch the eye. Trucks quietly approach large shipping and receiving garages on both sides of the building throughout the day, and a sign advertising Beck’s showroom blends into the landscape at first glance.

“No matter how much signage I put on this building, it’s so big it just eats it up,” Tracey said.

But inside, it’s clear that what the family has been building in the quiet industrial lot is unique. The business has designed and manufactured nearly every inch of its office space, an ongoing project showcasing just what Beck is capable of.

Tables built with quartz of various type and pattern complement cabinets manufactured by the CAS division. Counters topped with high-end granite sit beside a room that will soon showcase a custom walk-in closet.

The products serve a function, with engineers working diligently on CAS-made wood desks and an employee break room featuring a KB-built bright white quartz table known as “Tracey’s Island,” a mistake piece first built for a customer, now surrounded by bright red chairs.

Tracey and husband, Brian Beck, have worked in a number of different industries, and got their first taste of design and construction work while flipping houses. Brian’s brother, Ken Beck, is an architect and focuses on the engineering end of the company, while he runs the accounting side.

Tracey handles much of the design work, along with general operations, which includes daily problem-solving, a skill she says she has a knack for, pointing to a custom-built wall where the company is currently organizing edging samples.

The family’s latest acquisition, Great American Recreation Equipment, was purchased in November, and produces gaming tables including air hockey, bumper and pool tables, adding a new element of fun to the surroundings. A showroom built with quartz has sinks produced by the company built into the corners, and game tables throughout, both for display and use at company functions.

In truth, the space provides the Beck family a chance to finally show off, and they’re not holding back. For years, the company kept a low profile, at points not even having a sign on their door. Tracey says she now plans to change that, and starting this month, the business will hold open houses on the last Friday of each month throughout the year.

“Manufacturing is such a big business in Rhode Island and nobody knows about us,” she said. “It’s just time that people really need a clear message on all of the things that we do and that we can do.”

What Beck can do, it seems, begins with manufacturing but encompasses far more. The company is building a water feature into one bathroom wall, and in another, a vanity zigzags into a drain. In Ken’s office, a 60-gallon fish tank he engineered himself makes up most of one wall overlooking the large manufacturing plant. Antique pieces have been topped with varying stone surfaces, and Tracey has also added smaller touches to the space, such as a wall of succulents, and lights that hang without shades from the ceiling by red wires, attached to a faucet piece.

Somehow, it all works.

“We want every room to have kind of a cool surprise,” Tracey said. “The whole place is really like a showroom. Everyone that comes in says ‘I didn’t know this was here, and it’s cool.’”

What they’re showcasing, she notes, is the company’s ability to use several divisions for one project.

“We are everything – architecture, design, manufacturing, everything,” Tracey said. “That’s really what makes us kind of unique. We’re one source.”

“The Beck Companies by itself really doesn’t do anything except to make it all make sense,” she added.

It’s a model that seems to be working. Tracey said that each division is growing around 20 percent annually. The Closettec division – the company’s only retail operation – just launched a mobile showroom to visit homeowners interested in custom-built storage. The company does work for corporations, including Starbucks and Edible Arrangements, and recently completed three stores for the Wayback Burgers chain.

Beck now has 65 employees, and Tracey says they’re hiring to accommodate the growth. Employees who underperform in one area, she notes, sometimes move to a new division.

“We’ve never had a layoff in the 11 years we’ve been doing this,” Tracey said. “All the mediums are so different and people may have an affinity for one over another.”

Improvements at the facility are ongoing, with landscape work to begin as soon as the weather breaks.

“It’s a work in progress,” Tracey said. “We still have a long way to go.”

Tracey Beck, above, shows a potential customer a few of the many slabs of granite on display at The Beck Companies’ Providence Pike facility, below.