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Leadership Speaker - January 16, 2008
In 1977, while attending Brigham Young University, Nick Stewart began selling for a San Francisco based company called Albert Kessler & Co. While working for Albert Kessler & Co., Nick saw many great opportunities for business and eventually started his own side-business. He bought a van and started importing and buying products for resale. The imported merchandise was warehoused in his basement and garage. Due to great demand to this type of instant merchandise, the business grew dramatically and Nick broke away from Albert Kessler & Co. and started Tai Pan Trading International. Eventually, more warehouse space was needed and the business moved to the basement of a building in downtown Provo, Utah. From there, it moved to a warehouse in Midvale, Utah, and then to a location in Sandy, Utah. Finally, Tai Pan found a home in Murray, Utah, where the company would spend the next 15 years in a 52,000 sq. ft. building.
During this period of time, all of Tai Pan's business was strictly done on a wholesale basis, selling to many small, medium, and large retailers. Known throughout the Intermountain West Region, several outside sales people would call on Tai Pan from the floral, craft, and gift industries. Some of Tai Pan's largest customers included WalMart, Smith's, Albertson's, R.C. Willey, and Roberts and Crafts.
For many years Tai Pan operated an elaborate showroom that was designed to service the smaller customer such as interior designers who the company couldn't cost effectively send a sales person out to call on. This smaller customer, although still buying for resale, became the best part of Tai Pan's business in that the volume was high, the margin was high, and most was on a cash basis. It became obvious to Tai Pan that the greatest future opportunity was to sell wholesale directly to the public, somewhat in the pattern of Costco.
In the year 2005, Tai Pan became known as Tai Pan Trading Wholesale Home Décor when it opened its first retail store in a 100,000 sq. ft. facility located in Sandy, Utah. Tai Pan's presentation was a highly merchandised approach with a superstore level of variety, and an ambiance and charm of a small boutique. The wholesale to the public concept has gone over very well and subsequently, Tai Pan has opened two more stores. One store is located in Clearfield, Utah, which opened in 2006, the other located in St. George, Utah, which opened in the fall of 2007. Tai Pan currently has plans to expand into many other markets.
Tai pan is primarily owned by Nick Stewart and Bruce McAllister, who are neighbors and partners of over 20 years. Both readily say that Tai Pan's success is due, in large measure, to having a team of experienced professionals who make it happen every day, and who understand and meet the needs of our customers, who are ultimately what makes Tai Pan the successful company that it is today.
The Shingo Prize
Partners In Business
3500 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3500