For my entire life, my father has owned and operated an industrial equipment dealership called Trupar America Inc., a full-service dealership selling parts for forklifts, industrial sweeper/scrubbers and aerial lifts, as well as equipment service. In 2007 after barely graduating from high school, I decided not to get into the family business and moved from my hometown in Pittsburgh, PA to Aspen, CO to be a ski bum.
While the ski bum life was fun for a few years, eventually I got restless and started asking myself the infamous what do I want to be when I grow up question. I bought my first computer in 2010 and started teaching myself about digital marketing. With a few months of self-guided learning under my belt, I decided to start a marketing agency specializing
I successfully grew the agency, hiring a team of people and taking on a few dozen clients. The business worked and there seemed to be no shortage of clients. But once again I found myself restless and wondering what I could learn and pursue next. At this time I had been supporting my father’s company as a Client for about two years, mainly promoting offline equipment leads for his salespeople. By doing this, I realized that no one was selling replacement parts for equipment online. Excited about this perceived gap, I pitched my father on adding an e-commerce option to his company. He shot me down telling me time and time again that “it will never work because people buy from people.” I continued researching, trying to understand the basis for my father’s unwavering belief that this concept would fail, but eventually had to try. I spent all of my savings, nights, and weekends over the next year building TruPar.com.
Because of my family’s history in this space, I was able to set up a meeting with the top executives from the industry's largest wholesale distribution company. Though the executives I met with expressed similar skepticism, they agreed to set me up as a distributor and provided me with the basic product information needed to launch the site. In September 2012 TruPar.com was born, representing more than 1.7 million parts for 475 industrial equipment manufacturers. During the first couple of years, there were many trials and tribulations regarding the adoption of this new e-commerce business model. There were many, many occasions where I started to doubt the model, wondering if I should have listened to my father and kept on the agency track that had been working so well. But I pressed on and eventually, TruPar.com started growing beyond my wildest dreams.
Today the small e-commerce website I started from my one bedroom apartment has grown into an international company serving more than 45,000 happy customers with a catalog of over 8 million SKUs.