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For Mark Kahn, former president of his family business, industrial distributor Production Tool Supply, the rise of the Web provided the opportunity to get back into the business after retiring in 2003.
The cost and the available skillsets to build an online offering made it an attractive platform for Kahn’s new venture, Kahn Tools at kahntools.com. Kahn Tools launched in May, and is an industrial distributor of strictly American-made products. “I didn’t see any reason to build a bricks and mortar model to do what I was doing,” Kahn said.
The distributor is adding thousands of products each month to its online offering; Kahn Tools is taking advantage of master distributors and drop-ship from manufacturers to serve its customers.
“We have unlimited scalability with our business,” Kahn said.
As long as Kahn Tools can find suppliers, the distributor can add product categories. But the company is focused on more than just selling product. It has recruited from a pool of machine shop and industrial distribution industry veterans and is focused on building a skilled employee base throughout the country. “The biggest number on our home page is our phone number,” Kahn said. That differentiates the online-only venture from others, such as AmazonSupply.com, he said.
“In addition to supporting the American economy exclusively by buying from us,” Kahn said, “they will also have the opportunity to deal with seasoned professionals who spent their careers in specific product categories.”
Kahn Tools is concentrating on the small or mid-sized customer, and Kahn said the distributor has not had much trouble recruiting suppliers who are interested in the platform’s exclusive focus on American-made products. They “know they won’t be competing ever with an imported product with the online catalog we’re offering,” Kahn said.
Listen to the interview with Kahn below:
Read about more entrepreneurs in the industry, and what’s driving their success, in the recent MDM article, The New Distribution Company.