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Meet Jason Sanders and Michael and Dan Schwab of D&H Distributing in Coweta Industrial Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jason Sanders and Michael and Dan Schwab.

D&H Distributing is a privately-held North American distributor of technology products with 99 years in the marketplace. The company has a reputation for being an employee-centric workplace, focusing on a family atmosphere and a keen sense of work/life balance. The company was founded as a tire retreading company, and has adapted to decades of market changes to become a major technology distributor. It moved into the electronics industry in 1929 with the advent of crystal radios, transitioning into appliances and housewares during the post-WWII housing boom, and continuing into the computer age in the 1980s.

D&H was founded in Walnutport, PA in 1918 by two brothers-in-law, David Schwab and Harry Spector. Schwab’s grandsons, Michael Schwab and Dan Schwab, are the company’s current co-presidents today. D&H has distributed some of the nation’s first television sets, first video gaming systems, and first computers.

It now distributes a huge assortment of technology and IT products. These include server, storage and networking products for businesses; plus consumer electronics, video gaming, home automation, housewares, appliances, and home and outdoors products. The company has six locations in the US and Canada. D&H doesn’t sell direct to consumers. It offers distribution services and programs for the computer resellers, integrators, retailers, etailers, and consumer electronics dealers who then deliver these products to both businesses and consumers.

D&H established its largest and most cutting-edge distribution center in Atlanta in 2009. Initially opening with 476,000 square feet of warehouse space and 100 employees in the Atlanta area, the location has the capacity to expand to up to 680,000 square feet to accommodate future growth. Current employee headcount at the center is 138. Always a community- and ecologically-conscious organization, D&H’s Atlanta distribution hub features power conservative, state-of-the-art automation and lighting designed to minimize the company’s energy footprint; plus a packaging metrics system that minimizes waste by way of conservatively sized cartons and shipping materials; and on-site recycling.

D&H prides itself on being not only a family-owned company, but in maintaining a family atmosphere, which helps to motivate the team to give their all in their positions.

D&H is an ESOP company wherein employees “co-owners” own 36% of the organization. ESOP has become the foundational culture at D&H, encouraging co-owners to embrace not just the company, but their company, where the whole team is vested in its outcomes.

Employee/co-owner benefits include: healthcare and daycare programs, Flexible Spending Accounts, an employee loan program, tuition reimbursement, 401K percentage matching, a wellness program with healthcare cost savings, an employee referral program, and a convenient payroll portal. Employees can purchase D&H products at cost, plus seasonal discounts.

D&H Distributing has appeared on the Forbes List of America’s Top Private Companies from 2009 to 2017 and currently is at #123 on that list. It’s consistently ranked as the #1 Top Company and/or best place to work, as per the The Central Penn Business Journal.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
D&H has been evolving for 99 years, so there were bound to be some challenges over time. The company survived the Great Depression. It also survived a flood at its headquarters in 1939 that devastated inventory. At that time, D&H’s management negotiated a deal with manufacturer partners by which damaged inventory would be replaced at factory costs, as well as persuading local banks to continue to allow open credit. With prices stabilized and credit secured, D&H and its customers were better able to recover from the catastrophe. Despite this setback, and the country still being in the throes of depression, D&H turned a profit that year. It also demonstrated one of its first exercises in supporting its partners through economic and other hardships, which has become an intrinsic part of its value proposition through the decades. During the 2008 recession, D&H instituted 401K matching programs to help eases losses of employee/co-workers’ retirement savings due to the stock market drop.

As the newest D&H facility in the US, the Atlanta distribution center has enjoyed a fairly smooth eight-year history in the region, attracting some terrific local talent to run its logistics and maintain its inventory. This has helped D&H to deliver products to its technology and consumer electronics resellers and retailers throughout the southeast in a one- to two-day timeframe.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about D&H Distributing – what should we know?
D&H Distributing is currently a $3.5+ billion organization serving an extended customer base of technology resellers, integrators, and retailers throughout North America, with more than 2 million square feet of total warehouse space, including Atlanta, its largest distribution center. The company ships out of six separate locations in North America: its US headquarters in Harrisburg, PA; the Canadian headquarters in Mississauga; the Atlanta location; plus additional locations Chicago, IL; Fresno, CA; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
D&H Distributing believes the most important element of doing business is developing relationships for mutual success. The company continues to build upon its 99-year-old culture by providing its co-owners and partners with personalized attention, consultative guidance, and market expertise. As one of North America’s leading technology distributors, it delivers a wealth of enablement resources and hands-on support services that empower its customers in the IT and consumer electronics supply channels.

D&H maintains a special focus on independent resellers, integrators, and retailers, expanding their competencies in areas such as hosted and cloud services, the modern mobile workplace, comprehensive SMB server networks, and cross-market expertise across the small business, education, healthcare, and government verticals. D&H’s customers never deal with a “pool” of anonymous customer service agents. Its account reps have an average tenure of close to ten years.

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