As a kid I always wanted to be an entrepreneur.
When I was in high school I had an opportunity to take some accounting classes.
After I graduated from college I went onto to become a public accountant for the accounting firm called George S. Olive at the time.
I went to college at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. I did a mentorship with George S. Olive. It was there that I first met Jeff.
Knute and I had a lot in common. We would on the weekends get together and maybe play cards. At this time poker started to grow.
So with that a lot of people started playing poker at home and all of a sudden there was this big need for supplies. So Jeff approached me at the time and said, "Hey would you like to go in with me and found a supplier in China? And we could buy poker chips and sell them on Ebay?" And he had done all the research, the economics all looked great, it seemed like a great idea and I said sure. But in the back of our minds we knew we wanted to do something bigger than just poker.
Is your bank a true partner?
In business, you want a financial partner that has providing solutions to fit your best interest ingrained into the company culture. A place where going the extra mile is business as usual. For over 185 years, Old National Bank has been your bank for business.
We started to develop brands that catered to our markets. Currently we actually have 35 brands. We have a sporting goods brand, a children's sporting goods brand, toy brand, education. That became a business philosophy of ours that has stuck.
What started out very small, which was a little bit in our garage, continued to grow so we were literally growing 20% a month every single month for that first year. My garage was overflowing with inventory. 1/2 my house had inventory and my wife was pretty much ready to kill me. It was time to say hey you need to go find a warehouse.
When I first met Jeff and Knute they had literally just started this business out of their garage. And we discussed what they wanted to do with this company. At the time they were with a national bank and really just weren't getting a lot of attention because they were pretty small. I gave them their first line of credit, and we started to build it from there. This company has gone from 5,000 square feet all the way now up to 200,000 square feet with plans to expand in the coming years up to an additional 150,000. And that's really the type of growth that they've gone through.
We honestly believe our opportunities are endless. They are limited merely by time and money. Old National has come through for us on the money piece which has allowed us to grow.
Brian Henning from Old National is great. He has always enthusiastically wanted to learn about what we do here. I've always enjoyed walking him through the business, showing him the changes and you can see in his face how excited he is for us. I feel like he's been a partner. He's been part of the team.
At Old National when we partner with our clients we truly wanna be a trusted advisor to them and a true partner, as they go down that journey of growth, making sure that we're providing them the adequate capital that they need to successfully and profitably grow their company. At the end of the day it's really our job as a bank to ensure their net worth improves over time.
Looking at how far we've come over the last 14 years it's been a great journey. I've always felt that we would get here but now finally making it it's been a realization of a dream.
We also wanted to build something that employees would like to come to everyday. We put in a fitness room. We put in a real nice lounge. We also put in a 1/2 mile walking path.
What we've learned from Jeff and Knute is that they have so much passion for their business and it's contagious. You can see that within their employees, the culture that they've created. It's really something we should all follow.
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