Small Blaine company has big vision

Published on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 by By Tara Nelson

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Local entrepreneurs Gordon Campbell, l., and Roger Benetti, recently moved their international distribution business, Rach, Inc., from Loomis Hall to 826 Peace Portal Drive. Photo by Tara Nelson


Two local entrepreneurs have moved their long-time Blaine business to the former Wolten’s Coast to Coast hardware store on Peace Portal Drive.

Local business partners Roger Benetti and Gordon Campbell recently moved their international shipping business, Rach, Inc., from its former location at Loomis Hall to 826 Peace Portal Drive and have separated the approximate 5,000-square foot space into three units.

Rach now occupies a 2,800-square foot space, and Benetti said they have already signed a three-year lease agreement with Peg Cutting, owner of Tabletop Gourmet Specialties, to occupy a second space. A third space could be home to a retail shop or office, he said. Cutting said she hopes her store will be open in May.

“We’re pretty excited about turning this little corner into Blaine’s next business center,” Benetti said.

Rach provides promotional materials such as logoed sports jerseys and equipment to U.S. government institutions, international schools and private organizations in Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States. Although Campbell would not disclose their gross sales, he said the company services more than 30 U.S. military bases in Asia, 10 international schools and 15 bases in Europe.

They chose to locate in Blaine because of its quality of life, local talent and educated workforce. The area’s thriving shipping and receiving industry didn’t hurt either. Both Federal Express and UPS make several rounds in Blaine per day, he said.

“We’re also very fortunate we have some good printing and embroidering businesses in this region that make us look very good,” Benetti said.

Campbell, a Vancouver, B.C., native, has a background in sports medicine, and developed overseas contacts while doing consultations on military bases there. When people kept asking him to help them get sports equipment he realized it could be a business.

He was later introduced to Benetti through his friend Randy Bishop, the man who originally redeveloped Loomis Hall during the 1990s.

At the time, Benetti owned and operated West Coast U-Brew, a do-it-yourself brewery on Vancouver Island. After his business became self-sustaining, Benetti moved to Blaine to pursue other business ventures where he was introduced to Bishop. Campbell opened Rach in 1998, and Benetti joined in 2000. Before they knew it, their sales had tripled.

“When Roger and I first started together, a sports director on a U.S. airbase in Japan had been overly confident in us and asked for 400 printed basketball jerseys in three days,” Campbell said. “Roger found a way to get the jerseys printed in time, but not even Federal Express could get to Japan that fast, so we cashed in our air miles and sent Roger to Japan with two duffle bags in time for their game.”

Campbell said the two want to expand their line to include restaurant supply products such as kitchen hardware or even food.
Their sister office is located in Kawasaki, Japan, and Campbell was there when the country was hit by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis.

“There were books falling and tables tumbling,” he said. “It was frightening, but no one realized the full extent of the damage until we left.”

Campbell said when he left his office to pick up his wife, the freeways and public transit systems had been shut down and people were forced to walk many miles home rather than be stuck in traffic or take a cab.

“It was like Dawn Of The Dead,” he said. “Millions of people were walking home because traffic was so backed up.”

Campbell said he has maintained a blog documenting the experience at www.biz-life-food.blogspot.com.

Tabletop Gourmet Specialties’ website is located at www.tabletopgourmetspecialties.com.