Cary, NC- Continuing our Hidden Giants series, here’s another Cary company quietly growing like kudzu. It’s called Lonesource and it sells, well, everything for business.
I met with Bradley King, President and CEO, to find out how they started their “one source” concept.
Home Grown Leadership
Turns out Bradley is a rare breed, born right here in Cary, and has never lived anywhere else but our small town. And Lonesource, the company he started 10 years ago with his brother Stacy and CFO David Ryan, has always called Cary home as well.
How Did They Get Their Start?
Bradley had been a national account manager for Raleigh Office Supply, which was purchased in 1996 by U.S. Office Products.
Two years later, that company decided to start selling off assets that were not office products per se. King saw this as an opportunity.
He decided the time was right to create his own business plan. He called it: Lonesource.com. “The only source you need. Period.” That’s been the company motto since Day One.
Not Just Office Supplies
Lonesource is a business to business company, they do not sell directly to consumers. When they opened in 2000, they started selling to banking firms and then expanded into clinical research and architectural companies.
They aim to be the “one stop shop” where a firm can buy not only office supplies, but entrance mats, water filters, stools, and whatever a business may need. They have developed an easy to use customer interface so that clients can order everything in one online space.
The delivery side of the business is very important. From the sales person who signs a client, to the category experts who specialize in the various products, to the truck driver who makes deliveries, each employee touches the customer. Bradley told us his business is based on “Customer first, company second and people always”.
As a native of Cary (Cary High, 1983) he remembers the town when 5,000 people lived here. With growth has come opportunity. He spoke about the quality talent pool, and the location so close to transportation, and other office centers.
Lonesource employs 35 people at their MacGregor Office Park location and company-wide has grown to 200 employees located in the Southeast.
Kingdom Kids: Giving Back
Lonesource is celebrating their 10th anniversary by initiating a company-wide charitable partnership with Kingdom Kids, a 501c3 started by two Lonesource managers in their Atlanta location, Kevin Ford and Justin Hutchinson. Kingdom Kid’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing challenging circumstances.
In the last year and a half, the charity has raised over $140,000. As a “pass-through” organization, 100% of the donations go directly to the cause. Lonesource was the presenting sponsor at the First Annual Golf Tournament in Suwanee, Ga., which raised $12,361 to send a 9-year-old cancer patient and his family to Walt Disney World.
Here in the Triangle, Kingdom Kids partnering with Lonesource will be reaching out through hospitals to find children who can benefit from this organization. Bradley explained that it helps the company to focus their charitable giving. They can put their energies into one organization, and directly help the community in which they do business.
Growing Their Local Presence
This year, Lonesource will be focusing on business close to home. For the most part, they have been spread out nationally and in other parts of the Southeast. With a marketing push, branding their own line of products (including paper, and inks) with the company’s black, green and white logo, Cary-ites will soon be seeing Lonesource trucks on the roads here in town.
You saw it here first in CaryCitizen’s Hidden Giants.