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Homespun technology.

Homespun Technology

While most folks sip lemonade and watch the sunset from their back porches, Robert W. Ruffin and his son, Steve, have used their porch for a more enterprising pastime.

The duo operates a computer-aided design systems company that grossed $33,000 in sales the first year from the back porch of Robert's log home.

Eight years later, at the close of the company's 1990 fiscal year in August, Arkansas Computer Systems garnered a hefty $1.1 million in sales and was catering tailor-made drafting systems to several Fortune 500 companies, which make up 60 to 70 percent of the companies business, according to Steve.

Most of the company's products are sold through direct sales and referrals.

Some of the company's well known local customers include Alcoa, International Paper Company and Southwestern Bell. Just how did a high tech company form from a back-porch business? Ruffin laughs as he recounts its humble conception.

"It's been interesting. My dad was building custom log homes at the time, and I was doing data programming. We both became interested in computers but couldn't get the items we needed locally. So we mail ordered," Ruffin says.

"Pretty soon people started calling us to see if we could help them, and we said `Why not.' Before long we had to move into a rental house across the street and in 1984 had to move to our larger present site (2303 E. Lee Ave. in Sherwood)."

With the way business is growing, don't look for the company to return to its humble roots anytime soon, either. "Things are constantly changing, so we expect to see our customers year after year. We usually do, and that way we always continue to grow." Besides, Ruffin adds, "we get to play with the neatest stuff."

PHOTO : Robert Ruffin and son Steve grossed $1.1 million in 1990.
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Title Annotation:Arkansas Computer Systems
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Oct 8, 1990
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