Thinking back to 1987, I realize that I must have been daft!
Derek, my late dad, and I had been seriously considering a business selling British food and gifts to Americans. We were pretty sure they’d buy teapots, tea and biscuits. But beans, pickled onions and spotted dick? We knew that would be a stretch.
Nevertheless, 30 years ago, armed with not much more than a positive attitude and a peculiar way of speaking the language that residents of the U.S.A. sometimes find amusing, British Wholesale Imports was born.
We loaded the car with whatever UK merchandise we could gather and headed off to our first trade show with high hopes and crossed fingers. Sales, unfortunately, were somewhat less than spectacular. To be more accurate, we sold…nothing.
Undaunted, we celebrated our British/American venture with a nice cuppa and a biscuit! Later, on an especially good sales day, Dad would treat himself to a bowl of pudding and custard!
Our little family business that began so inauspiciously continues to be a family business. Some of the family is related by marriage and blood. The rest are full-fledged family because of the many years and tears we’ve spent together.
Today our peculiarly-conceived enterprise has evolved into an international business with corporate headquarters, trucks, warehouses on both coasts and friends all over the world.
I am humbled by the support we have had over the years. By staff. By customers. By suppliers. Everyone played an important role in making BWI successful – not just as a business but in so many other more important ways.
Thank you to so many for so much.