Rhino Assembly Corporation | Charlotte, NC
Dan Brooks and Leif Anderson
Dan Brooks and Leif Anderson developed a strong business relationship through their work with a specialty assembly tool distributor. After three years of success in growing the business together, a shift in the market created an opportunity to branch out on their own. They started Rhino Assembly Corporation in July 2000.
Rhino Assembly Corporation is a specialized industrial distributor, focusing primarily on the automotive and aerospace sectors, as well as heavy off-road equipment and electronics. The name of the business is unique and intentional – Dan and Leif see the rhinoceros as a symbol of strength, moving forward, and being thick-skinned – and their pride is evident throughout their office in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The first two years were rough for Dan and Leif. Both had backgrounds in sales and even though they had managed a division, running a business was very different. It wasn’t until January 2002 that Rhino Assembly first reached its sales goal – and continued to reach its goals every month for the next four years. That’s when things finally started taking off.
Rhino Assembly’s first meeting with the SBTDC was arranged through Stuart Hair, Existing Industry Coordinator for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, as part of the Biz Boost Program. The company was experiencing rapid sales growth and wanted to expand
its exporting business. Since the initial meeting, Rhino Assembly has utilized several SBTDC services, including a strategic organizational assessment, a ProfitCents sales analysis, and International Business Development (IBD) counseling. “It’s easy for us to participate because
of the low cost. The SBTDC can point you in the right direction and
make resources available to you,” says Leif.
An MBA student intern team from Montreat College was also assigned during the fall 2011 semester for a marketing project. The team identified opportunities through their research by utilizing a SWOT analysis.
After starting with just 4 employees, Rhino Assembly now employs a staff of 20. They are also planning for a 20% sales increase in 2012.
Rhino Assembly was a semi-finalist for a 2012 Small Business of the Year award, given by Business North Carolina magazine. However, their most notable recognition may have occurred during President Obama’s weekly address, when he cited Rhino Assembly as a small business successfully exporting to South America.
“We love having our company here in North Carolina, a place we will stay and grow,” says Leif.
Story originally featured in the SBTDC’s 2012-2013 Annual Report.
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