Viking Computer Parts
Dan Burns and Allen Hitz had been working together at various companies for more than 20 years, almost continuously since college. They were the top sales people at their most recent employer, a seller of computer parts, but had become disillusioned with the direction the company was headed after being purchased by a larger organization.
After several changes that were implemented after the acquisition, they were forced to work more and more to generate the same income they were making before the acquisition. Even worse, long-time customers were taking their business elsewhere.
In April 2017, the pair formed Viking Computer Parts, Inc., building on their previous industry experience. Viking Computer parts purchases computer hardware like laptops, desktops, tablets, and more, disassembles them, and sells the much needed parts to Fortune 500 companies. They leased office and warehouse space in Burnsville, but not without a lot of planning and discussion.
“We had talked about it for years. But it never felt real until we signed the lease,” remembers Allen. “We walked out after signing the lease and I said ‘I think we’re really doing this!’ And then from there, it just sort of steamrolled as we got into the building. The day we left our jobs, we were able to sell, take orders, and handle all of the transactions because we had been preparing for months.”
Based on their past familiarity with their suppliers, they were able to get credit terms with many of them right away, helping them get their business off the ground almost immediately. “That’s unheard of for a start-up. But it’s because they knew Dan and I and we had been working with them for 20 years already,” said Allen.
One thing they also needed almost immediately was a bank that understood their needs and where they wanted to take their company.
“Suddenly we’re taking on four or five hundred thousand dollars in accounts receivable. You have to have a bank that’s going to back you up,” said Dan. “These are Fortune 500 companies. They pay in 45 days. Sometimes invoices aren’t right. Or sometimes something needs to be returned. Or sometimes they pay in 60 or 90 days. Our vendors want to be paid, otherwise they’re not going to extend us credit. That’s where the bank comes in. That’s where you need a good bank that you can rely on.”
With support from North American Banking Company’s Todd Nelson, they’ve grown quickly. They now employ ten people and recently hired many of their former colleagues who had been laid off from the same company Dan and Allen had left after it shut down its computer parts business.
Dan and Allen credit the responsiveness of their banker Todd Nelson for helping them grow their business.
“Todd is active with us as much as we need him to be. If we call him or come in, he’s right there. We couldn’t do it without him.”