When a farmer in Chile goes online to check market prices or a student in Central America researches college opportunities in Europe, there's a good chance that both are using computers supplied by GR Trading in Miami, Florida.
The company was founded five years ago to provide quality off-lease products to international customers. GR Trading buys tier one level computer brands – Dell, Compaq, HP, etc. – from VARs and computer leasing companies. The company then sells the computers to retailers and wholesalers for export – primarily to Central and South America.
Sandra Deery, co-founder and Vice President of GR Trading, explains:
"It's an exciting, rewarding business. We take these computers out of the waste stream and make the technology available in countries where people have a much lower standard of living. Knowledge is power, and poor people need access to that knowledge to improve their standard of living."
Many companies are hoping to serve these types of emerging markets, and GR Trading gets new inquiries each week about its products. However, Deery says that she and her business partner deliberately limit the number of customers served – for two reasons:
"We don't have enough product to satisfy everyone! That's one reason we joined Tradeloop. There's a lot of product for sale, and the member profile information makes it easy for us to see the geographic location of sellers. Computer and monitors are heavy, so freight costs are an important consideration when we buy."
Also, Deery notes that a small customer base makes it possible to "focus on doing a really good job for the customers we have." The company's emphasis on customer service and good relationships is illustrated by the warranty policy. "100% satisfaction guaranteed. It doesn't get any simpler than that."
Deery explains that the guarantee means that if GR Trading ships bad product, then they take it back – even paying the return freight. "With that kind of money involved, we have to deal with customers we know and trust."
GR Trading also tries to be a good customer to its supplier companies. "We keep documentation and provide feedback to our suppliers about the condition of the products we receive."
It’s a successful business model. The company has gone from zero sales five years ago to millions of dollars in revenue – with only $10,000 in product returns. Deery attributes the success to a commitment to quality and is proud that GR Trading is able to do well while doing good:
"We take America's waste and turn it into gold. At the same time, we're helping to bring the world together and empower people to achieve a better standard of living. Our customers know that we'll deliver a quality product at an affordable price. "