8 months ago


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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2021 / Vol 44 No 2


46 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK COMPONENTS FOR INDUSTRY 1351 Armor Blvd, Mundelein, Il 60060 TEL 847-918-0333 EMAIL WEB COMPONENTS FOR INDUSTRY: YOUR WORLDWIDE PROVIDER OF COMPONENTS CFI was founded in 1991 by Kevin Christie. Fresh out of college, Kevin Christie found himself looking for job opportunities. He found his home at a medium-sized fastener distributor in the Chicago area. He spent a few years working with standard fasteners and processing orders until he came across an opportunity to provide custom components. During his time at that company, he had found that the standard system for this industry had a fundamental flaw: communication. Kevin had spent time building relationships through Fax and Telex with the overseas manufacturing plants. Instead of delegating purchasing and product management to a purchasing agent, he took on the responsibility himself. When the day came that an opportunity to provide custom components arose, he sought his friends’ help on the other side of the Globe. This opportunity eventually came to fruition, but he came to an impossible bottleneck as a junior salesman at his company. The company required things to be done by the book, and Kevin wanted to change the book entirely. At this point, Kevin and Annie’s friendship rekindled. Annie and Kevin had been friends since childhood. With Annie’s friendly push, Kevin began pursuing a different career path. Using the relationships he had cultivated over a short time, he became a manufacturing representative. Simply put, this did not last long. Kevin’s aspirations were larger. Kevin began CFI and recruited Annie to be the co-owner, to run the books’ side of things. Annie always had a knack for numbers, but only when dollar signs were put before them. Together, Annie and Kevin took on an already crowded room in custom and standard fastener distribution. Kevin’s experience with sales and account management led him to become an excellent salesman and owner; however, to the surprise of Kevin (and probably Annie), Annie’s sales abilities were unlike anything he had seen in his then-half-decade of sales experience. Annie and Kevin both had vastly different approaches to business and sales. Kevin, with a calm intensity and logical thinking. Annie, with the ability to form long-lasting connections with strangers from all walks of life. Together, with their incredibly different styles and mindsets, they took the small business and grew it, part-by-part, to what it is today. Although differing in many ways, one fundamental truth has remained consistent through 30 years of business; a culture, a way of thinking. It is the essence of “what” CFI is and “how” CFI does it. Simply put: friendship, family, partnership. Talk to anyone who has worked with CFI before; they will say the same. It’s an experience unmatched in this industry. BUSINESS FOCUS ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 122


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