Doing Whatever It Takes

Whatever the building type – office, industrial, retail or school – Fischer’s Commercial Division is equipped to provide the stone, tile or thin brick surfaces required, inside or out. On most commercial projects Fischer staff work closely with the architect and general contractor to select the material, and often to import and purchase it as well. Incon Tile Distributors, Inc., Fischer’s importing and distributing arm, collaborates with this division to act as a direct purchaser and importer of stone and tile products from around the world.

Prior to the 1980s, most commercial buildings in the Sacramento area were two-story concrete tilt-ups, while the majority of early government buildings were conventional, concrete and plaster-clad, rectangular structures. Since then, however, stone and tile has been used more extensively – and creatively – for both interiors and exteriors.

During the last two decades, Fischer has worked with more than 50 general contractors, most on a repeat basis. At J.R. Roberts, for example, partner Bob Olsen describes a working relationship of 25 years, including complex large commercial projects such as the restoration of the California State Capitol. “We’ve worked with Fischer from the beginning,” says Olsen, “and give them a lot of repeat business because they simply get in and get the job done.” Terry Street, president of Roebbelen, agrees: “We have trusted them on our projects since we started in 1959. “I think of them as basically invisible and that’s goodness from a contractor’s point of view. They keep up with trends and they’re a leader in their business.” Jack Kimmel, head of Kimmel Construction Inc, recalls the trusted, long-time business and personal relationship between his father and Jay’s, based on the Fischer family’s values and ethics: “I think our combined 160 years of business speaks well for both companies.”

As a result of its performance on complex projects, Fischer has won numerous awards for the best of its work, including the State Capitol (see sidebar), the Sacramento Medical Foundation Blood Bank, the Roseville Telephone Company, the Mall at Yuba City and California Plaza in Sacramento. Most recently, Fischer garnered an award from the Tile Contractors’ Association of America for its part in the $25 million restoration of the 120-year old Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament in downtown Sacramento. Fischer was responsible for all the marble and stone work tiles in the cathedral, flawlessly executing intricate patterns.

Whatever the size or complexity of the project, says Carl Otto, president of Sacramento-based builder John F. Otto, “Fischer comes in and does the job, and does it extremely well.” Carl’s father, John, founded his general contracting company in 1947 – and worked with Harry Fischer from the beginning. “One of the things I most admire about Fischer,” says Carl, “is the fact they are the same today as they were 20 years ago, and I’m sure the same as they were when my dad worked with them. They’ve stayed consistent even as they’ve gone through leadership changes, and that’s a real challenge.”