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Company History

Company History

In 1962 Mobile Distributing Company started as a regional distributor for Gordon's Potato Chips. Like the other Gordon distributors across the country, they delivered to the local independent grocery stores in the signature red van. Around 1969 the company began selling counter display tubs filled with Bic and Lindy pens. Over the next few years the business added a small assortment of specialty office products.

Nabisco bought Gordon's in 1972 and decided to buy back the franchises. Suddenly Mobile Distributing was out of the chip business. It had been suggested over the years to one of the owners that they enter the wholesale pen business. Soon after the buyout, the company expanded into the specialty office supply and pen wholesale business. The company was renamed Mobile Pen Company, Inc. (MPC) and operated out of a 7,500 square foot facility.

In 1978, Frank Summersell and a partner bought MPC and rapidly grew the business into a 15,000 square foot facility. The company serviced college bookstores, independent office product retailers, stationers, drug stores, and jewelry stores throughout six southeastern states. During the mid to late 1980's the company's customer base began to shrink due to the onset of mass-market retailers with huge stand-alone stores. By 1992 all that was left were the college bookstores and a few independent retailers.

During the late 80's and early 90's, MPC bought other regional wholesalers in Florida, Tennessee and Maryland in order to survive. Meanwhile Mr. Summersell launched a medical office management and medical magazine diversifying the company in search of a new niche. In 1992, at the suggestion of a friend and CEO of a large office products supplier, the founder and his wife attended the NSSEA (now Educational Market) Fall Show in Nashville, TN. The company began a relationship with a large catalog publisher, rented an 8,000 square foot warehouse, and filled it with educational products.

Educators Resource (ER) began as a division of MPC in 1993 servicing independent educational retailers and catalog distributors. The company soon dropped out of the medical management and publishing businesses to concentrate its resources on ER. In 1994 the company relocated both operations into a larger facility which is now 90,000 square feet. In 1995 Mr. Summersell purchased his partner’s interest in the company.

In 1996, the MPC division was sold to further concentrate resources on ER. In recent years, the company has expanded into specialty toys and 100% fulfillment services for individual catalog dealers and e-commerce businesses. ER is the leading wholesaler in the education industry in service, product selection and distribution technology.