Lee and Jen Gross
Whether wholesaling gadgets and gifts or sourcing new textile products and high-end furnishings, Lee and Jen Gross never lose their enthusiasm. The international couple works day and night; days operating their successful retail store and nights on the telephone to Asia, building a network of suppliers for their new business, Wholesalers, Inc.
When Jen and Lee began their new wholesale company two and a half years ago, they contacted Metro Technology Centers' Economic Development Center to help them pursue emerging business opportunities. "Metro Tech helped us expand our thinking and take the right steps to get our company to the next level," said Lee Gross. "Our relationship with the Metro Tech team has been very valuable."
Metro Tech's Government Contracts Specialist, Lynda Speller, was able to connect Lee and Jen with key contacts in the Army Air Force Exchange System. They recently completed a two-week project at Tinker AFB to test market their new product line within the base-exchange system. Metro Tech's New Business Start up Coordinator, Denise Kennemer, helped the company with basic business planning and identified a student of Metro Tech's Print Design class to use his new skills to help modify and enhance the packaging designs for Lee and Jen's new products.
The Gross' began their wholesale company after they identified a need to improve the quality and packaging of products manufactured overseas for resale in U.S. markets. Jen speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese and is able to negotiate competitive prices from suppliers without sacrificing quality.
The couple is now expanding their wholesale operation to help others identify suppliers in foreign countries. Their new product lines are often tried and tested in their own retail store, Meridian Tool, before marketing to prominent chain store operations. Jen has over fifteen years experience working with vendors in South America and Asia and is often asked to consult on business dealings in these countries. "We can work on retainer to consult with companies on any step of getting their products made overseas, or they can hire us to manage the process of sourcing with foreign suppliers for them." Plans are on the drawing board for a warehouse that will handle supply chain management activities for their clients.
"We also enjoy exporting American-made products," says the couple. "There is a growing demand in other countries for American-made goods and we want to make these available to foreign markets, as well."