By IAN ROSS
A recent trade mission to Detroit is already paying solid dividends for a North Bay import company.
Uprooted Designs, a newly created division of Buckstone Inc. and Vested Interest Trading, is seeking to gain a foothold into the U.S. Midwestern market by selling customized teak root furniture to wholesale distributors.
Walter Dean, Buckstone’s business development director, anticipates the company could be doing $8,000 to $10,000 worth of business selling Indonesian-made teak root furniture within the first 60 to 90 days after the mission, based on agreements reached with three Detroit area wholesalers.
“It would be pre-mature to name the companies, but we have working agreements with all three.”
Buckstone Inc., a holding company and business group, consists of five North Bay companies headed by the husband-and-wife team of Brent Bywater and Jennifer McNutt Bywater. The company includes Uprooted Designs, Vested Interest, Rock Solid Creations, along with a flooring business and building-supply company.
Though Uprooted Designs and Rock Solid were represented on the June 7 to 11 FedNor-sponsored trade mission, it was the artistically-inspired tables, chairs, benches, stools and sculpture fashioned from high-grade teak root from Indonesia that appealed most to Michigan business people.
“It was one of the better functions I’ve attended,” says Dean, who is also a Barrie business development consultant.
Part of the business-to-business function was to introduce northern companies to potential clients in southeastern Michigan.
“Those dozen or so introductions led to the establishment of three wholesale customers in the Detroit area,” says Dean. There are also “three or four other potential clients that we’re still working with and will be developing over the next little while.”
Dean says the Detroit trade mission is part of Buckstone’s and Vested Interest’s phased strategy to expand its 360 cross-Canada distributors and demonstrate a capability to deliver anywhere in North America within a reasonable period of time.
With 15 per cent of their products shipped south of the border, the company has already made in-roads into New York State, Michigan, the Ohio Valley and they are in the midst of developing further markets in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.