Sweet smell of success

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012

By Jon Bell

0512_GamePlan_AirDelightsWhile on a visit to his cousin’s Beaverton home more than 20 years ago, Steve Bronson caught a whiff of something that flipped on a light bulb in his mind: air fresheners.

It was more than just a hint of lavender or a trace of an alpine meadow. Bronson’s cousin, Glenda, it turned out, was a bit of an air freshener fanatic. In every room of her home she had air fresheners, spending about $350 a month.

Bronson had been running his own one-man commercial cleaning company, but he’d been wanting to start a mail-order business to supplement the income. Air fresheners seemed like the right idea, so he launched Air Delights. Without any business education, Bronson had only his ideas to go on.

“I had a blue-collar background and I graduated high school,” says Bronson, 51, “but everything I’ve done with Air Delights has just been based on my own ideas.”

For Bronson, that meant sending a letter to every air freshener company he could find, selling to his friends and family — his first customer was, no surprise, Glenda — and landing an unlikely account as a distributor for a large air freshener and soap dispenser company called Technical Concepts. Three years in and on the verge of throwing in the towel he bought a computer and figured out how to take his business online. With a lot of hard work and dedication, it took off.

Today, Air Delights sells more than 25,000 different plumbing and restroom accessory products to 50,000 customers around the world, including 25 U.S. embassies, Harvard University and the Ferrari World amusement park in Abu Dhabi. Housed in a commercial building in Beaverton purchased last October, the company employs 10 and, according to Bronson, has revenues approaching $5 million a year.

Though Air Delights’ residential business was hit hard during the recession — the company no longer even serves that market — Bronson says the commercial side has been steady. He attributes that to a solid reputation as a trustworthy company and a larger focus on more specialized plumbing repair parts. Air Delights also has begun to dabble in private labeling and manufacturing its own products such as air fresheners and soap dispensers, an endeavor that Bronson sees as the key to growing his once-little company by about 10% to 15% a year.

“If you’ve got determination,” he says, “you’d be surprised at what you can do.”

 

 

More Articles

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

The Health Guru

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Mohan Nair channels a visionary.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Short Shrift:The threat of just-in-time scheduling

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Companies can benefit when they use software to meet staffing requirements and address employees' family and life commitments.


Read more...

Foundations perspective

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS