COE Distributing

C OE Distributing,with headquarters in Smock, Pennsylvania, is a family-owned,wholesale office furniture company, originally estab- lished in the 1940s, by the grandmother of its cur- rent President and CEO, J.D. Ewing.“The start of the company goes back quite a fewyears,” says Ewing, “but the wholesale armwas founded in 1986, and I’ve run it since 1989.We grew the company from less than a quarter million dollars at the end of 1989 to over $21 million in early 2006.” Ewing’s successful run attracted the attention of investors who acquired the company in a rollup acquisition that same year. (A rollup is a process where multiple small companies in the same mar- ket are acquired and merged.) “We were the third of five acquisitions in that rollup,”Ewing continues. “I, as well as the bulk of my staff, stayed on to work for the acquiring entity and subsequently, three and a half years later, they filed for bankruptcy and were shutting down the business. I took the oppor-