On the first day I started cold calling to vendors and customers I knew. My goal was to let them know I had started a new company and to ask them for the opportunity to do business with them. What still amazes me to this day is that by the end of first day we had seven orders from people that congratulated us, were interested in what we could offer, and wanted to show their support. We had orders the next day too, so we were well on our way. At the time we were told we needed to move our “warehouse”, and we were already looking for a commercial building to move into. Around July 15th we moved into a 5000 sq. ft. commercial building. It seemed huge!! Our inventory only filled a small portion of the warehouse. We prospered, and a year later our landlord allowed us to upgrade to a newer building that was 7500 sq. ft. In the picture (below), my partners and I celebrated the signing of our first lease. I still have the list we created of our top priorities, which included items we needed to have as we were getting ready to move into our first building including real basics such as desks and chairs, phone system, and set up our computer network. One of our customers was a software company; we traded computer hardware for their RDOS based business software (predecessor to ERP,CRM). We bought our phone system at an auction we found from someone going out of business. All of our furniture and a lot more came from EDS (H. Ross Perot) – they had sold out to GM and were still liquidating millions of sq. ft of buildings around the Detroit area. I got my personal desk in a trade for two Detroit Tiger tickets.
Within two years RAVE had become the “Largest used Data General Reseller in the US.” We had 15 employees and were growing; we also had reseller agreements with, and were among the largest resellers of other products such as Data Products Line printers, Cipher Tape Drives, Control Data (Disk Pack) and Winchester Disk Drives. The largest disk drives (300MB) were very expensive and required a 19” cabinet to be racked. Data General was VME based; the largest memory boards were 256MB and 14 inches square. We were one of Dataram’s largest memory board resellers (clone Data General).
By 1991 RAVE had grown to the point that we had more customers than we could locate used computers. We needed to become a reseller of new computer systems if we were to grow. We approached Data General to become a reseller, and they were so aggravated with RAVE over all the used products we had sold into their market that they wouldn’t even talk to us. So we looked around and found an up and coming computer OEM and approached them, Sun Microsystems. I will tell you about that next newsletter.
From to right to left: Rick “R” Darter, Dennis “A” Asselin, Ken “V” Gorinski and Bob “E” Jones – R-A-V-E (Computer).