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Intuition is insurance enough.

Intuition Is Insurance Enough

Want to know if you can trust a foreign buyer to pay you for goods shipped overseas? Have him over to stay with you, in your home, for a few days. It worked for Joe Parsons Jr., of Osceola, president of Parsons Cabinet Company Inc.

Parsons, like his father before him, takes great pride in manufacturing all-wood sewing machine cabinets and chairs. He can fit 143 different sewing machine models.

"There's no one left manufacturing this furniture with all wood, anymore," says Parsons. "No one over there (Europe) does it, is what we understand."

So this fall, before shipping his first overseas order to an English buyer, the had the Englishman over for a cup of tea. The buyer and his son stayed with the Parsons' for four days. "It just kind of sewed things up," says Parsons. (Excuse his pun.)

Parsons decided to cut back on his level of safety in the deal because he didn't want to ruin the new relationship. "We had built up trust," he says.

Parsons makes it sound so easy now, but his local banker and moral supporter, Don Hook, remembers the questions and debate that surrounded the decision to enter the export game.

Oh yeah, we talked about what happens if the boat sinks on the way over, or if the company goes bankrupt. But after getting to know the buyer, Parsons decided to try it," says Hook, of the First National Bank of Osceola.

Parsons reasoned, "It was a small enough order (about $40,000) at first if I didn't get anything out of it, I could learn my lesson and get out." He is now talking with potential customers in Mexico and Canada.

"We were so green," says Parsons. "The folks in Little Rock have been a great help." By the way, a Parsons product was featured in the special Arkansas June issue of Commercial News USA, generating leads.

The 45-year-old company employs between 80 and 90 people in Osceola.

PHOTO : ON ITS WAY TO ENGLAND: This solid wood sewing machine cabinet, manufactured by J.T. Parsons Cabinet Company in Osceola, was one of an initial order of about $40,000 shipped to England this fall. No one makes the all-wood furniture overseas.

PHOTO : CABINET MAKER: Joe Parsons, Jr., president of Parsons Cabinet Company in Osceola, had a English customer stay with him during a visit to see the factory.
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Title Annotation:Joe Parsons, Jr.; Parsons Cabinet Company Inc.
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Dec 17, 1990
Words:403
Previous Article:After the smoke clears.
Next Article:Exporting with assurance.
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