King Arthur's Tools in Tallahassee Wins Contract with Federal Government
By Gina Jordan
Tallahassee, FL – The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce recently honored King Arthur's Tools as one of its Small Businesses of the Year. Now the company, which has distributors worldwide, has been granted a contract with the government.
It's a good thing Arthur and Pamela Aveling still like each other. These life partners also work side by side each day.
"I have a rule, though," says Pamela. "No board meetings in the bedroom."
Four generations make up this family business, located on Hartsfield Road. The company specializes in power tools and accessories with names like Lancelot and Squire after the medieval Knights of the Round Table.
King Arthur's Tools recently secured a GSA contract award, enabling the company to do business with the government without having to make bids. It took three months just to get the application paperwork ready, and it was another three months before they learned they had won the contract. A direct line to the GSA, which stands for General Services Agency, is the culmination of a twenty-year dream for Arthur.
"The federal government spends something like three-billion-dollars a day, and there are 25-million small businesses that they classify under a thousand employees. There are only 19-thousand small businesses that are registered with a GSA contract."
Arthur is from Australia and lived in Saudi Arabia before taking on an American business partner who happened to be from Tallahassee. He loved it so much, he stayed.
"We've learned to be able to run a manufacturing business with distribution throughout the United States and the world from here."
Pamela says her husband doesn't believe in crazy ideas. He just sees opportunity.
"A gentleman in Norway came up to him one time and said wouldn't it be neat if you had a chainsaw that was two inches in diameter. And he planted that seed. Most people would just go, 'Wow, that is neat.' Arthur came home, invented the world's smallest chainsaw, had it on the market in less than two years from the time the man said wouldn't it be neat.'"
The Aveling's have been together eighteen years. Pamela says she has always admired her husband's persistence and positive approach.
"When I met him, he said, "Now, you know, you're meeting a failure. I failed at four businesses before I started this.' When I met him, he was working out of a garage. He said, I'm a failure, and that's how come I'm going to be successful.'"
There is no evidence of a recession at this business. They had their best year ever in 2008, then did even better in 2009. So far, this year is also looking like a record breaker.
"Introducing the world's biggest customer to our products opens up a huge, huge field. We're also, I understand, able to sell to the local and state governments as well as to the United Nations."
The GSA contract is for five years, renewable three times, which means the Aveling's effectively have a twenty year deal.
"It's going to result in more jobs because we cannot handle the anticipated volume that we believe we're going to get."
For more information, visit www.katools.com.