Edmo Distributing didn’t sell any more stuff in 1993 or 1994 than it did in 1992, but the company’s profits have been steadily going up.
Tim Gump, Edmo’s president, attributes that to the company’s move from the Los Angeles area to Spokane almost two years ago.
And the advantages of being here over being there have positioned the electronic aircraft parts distributor to do some real growing now that the moving process is behind it, and sales are increasing.
“My expectation is to grow it into a $50 million-a-year company,” Gump says. “Our sales are just a hair under $20 million a year right now.”
But Edmo has momentum.
Earlier this year, the Aircraft Electronics Association recognized Edmo as associate member of the year. Members of the association, who make up Edmo’s principal customer base, elected the Spokane company to the honor.
In an industry with a small number of suppliers, Gump says that honor usually translates to the winner’s bottom line.
“Our company was the smallest of five distributors in the industry back in 1984,” Gump says. “Now we’re No. 1 out of four. Building relationships with customers who are in unison saying we’re doing something right means they are buying from us.”
Edmo is owned principally by Ed Landsberg; Fred Lopez, who is the company’s chief executive officer; and Gump. The company was founded and grown in Southern California, but by the early 1990’s, the three partners had decided to leave.
“Taxes, way of life,” Gump says, in listing reasons to leave there. “Earthquakes were a big part of it.”
Company officials looked at Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City, Nev.; Portland, and Seattle. Each offered improved business climates, “but they all seemed like the same old big city,” Gump says.
Gump took his Fourth of July vacation in Spokane in 1992, and decided this was where the company should be. Within a few weeks, he and his partners were back taking a closer look.
“The key point to our business is shipping, and if you are a wholesale distributor, you can basically be anywhere,” Gump explains. “Spokane gave us all the amenities of a big city with a small-town environment.”
A bonus was Felts Field Airport.
Although Edmo sells to the general aviation industry, it has no compelling reason to locate its operations at an airport. But each of the partners loves flying, and the company owns an airplane.
In California, Seattle or Portland, an airport location would have been either impossible, or cost prohibitive.
“Spokane offered us not only a nice working environment and a good living environment, but it offered us the ability to afford to be on an airport.”
Almost a year to the day Gump vacationed in Spokane, the company relocated here. Fifteen of the company’s 22 Southern California employees made the move.
Since making the move, Edmo has expanded to 32 employees. It kept its California warehouse, opened a second warehouse here and followed with a third warehouse in the Dallas area. The company is now considering expanding its warehouse operations to Chicago and Atlanta.
And in 1993 Edmo acquired Flightline, a small company that specialized in pilot supplies.
“We needed to expand in that area, and it has become the fastest growing side of our business right now,” Gump said. “Edmo Flightline is doing just over $1 million in sales annually, and we think that can grow to about $4 million or $5 million.”
Gump says that in a finite market, like the general aviation industry is, the keys to growth are diversifying the customer base and product line.
“And you know the old term, ‘You can’t sell from an empty cart,”’ Gump says. “Our goal has been to be large enough where we have broad variety of products so the customer doesn’t call Edmo for this and a competitor for something else.
“I want our customers to be able to call us for all their electronic aircraft components.”
And as long as they can do that job from Spokane, Gump says he and all the company employees will be happy.
“Spokane is a very good working environment,” he says. “It’s a lot better than it was in Los Angeles.
“This is the first place I’ve ever been treated like a customer by accountants, bankers, lawyers. And it feels good.”
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