Barry and Monica Cochran, owners of L.F. Deardorff & Sons Inc., are being nominated for the 2011 Small Business Exporter of the Year award.
The company operated in Chicago from 1923 until 1989. Then, for a short time, the company operated in Athens under foreign ownership. The Cochrans purchased the company and relocated it to the Cleveland/ Bradley Business Incubator in Cleveland in 2010.
Because of its long history, reputation for high quality and almost nonexistent competition, Deardorff cameras continue to be in use worldwide. The Cochrans ship to 29 countries and 38 U.S. states. So far in 2011, international sales outnumber U.S. sales by a ratio of almost 2 to 1. They have customers in many countries, including China, Japan, Australia and France, totaling approximately 700 customers.
Figures effective as of November 2011 for camera sales total $180,352.22. A percentage breakdown shows that 44 percent of its sales are in the U.S.A. and 56 percent are international. The company has pre-sold $170,000 worth of merchandise for the 2012 calendar year and estimate total sales for 2012 should reach more than $250,000, a threefold increase over the last three years.
“Barry and Monica Cochran are deserving of the Small Business Exporter of the Year award due to their customer base in 29 countries, strong international sales and impressive growth both in domestic and foreign sales,” according to David M. Hudson, director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Cleveland State Community College.