Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Business Started in Edmond Couple's Home Takes Off

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Business Started in Edmond Couple's Home Takes Off

Article excerpt

In 2003 Tim and Marilyn Kawakami of Edmond were investigating potential home-based businesses.

Their plan was to start a small business to supplement their income after retirement. Tim was retired from active duty in the U.S. Air Force and was working as a civilian employee at Tinker Air Force Base. Marilyn had worked in accounting and other areas for Fleming Companies and was then preparing tax returns for H&R Block.

"We started looking at what we could sell," Marilyn said.

They consulted with some friends who operated an Internet business selling earplugs.

"I volunteered to help them," she said. "I was upfront with them. I said I wanted to see how the business worked and if we could set up an Internet business selling something."

After their research, Tim and Marilyn Kawakami opened Masks N More in June 2003, operating out of their Edmond home selling protective masks over the Internet for industrial, medical and home use. Since opening, Masks N More has expanded from their home to an office and warehouse at 1733 S. Fretz Ave. in Edmond. It has sold masks to customers across the country and internationally.

"We have sold products around the world," Tim said. "We have shipped to customers in Edmond. We have shipped to customers in Alaska. We have shipped products to other countries including India, South Africa, Australia and China."

Domestic sales have been strong in California.

"They have a lot of smog," Marilyn said.

Orders are mainly received at the Edmond office and warehouse over the Internet and by telephone.

"We do get a few walk-in customers, but not many," Marilyn said.

The company is just Marilyn and Tim - Masks N More has no other regular employees, although extra help has been called in for periods of heavy orders.

Suppliers deliver masks and other supplies including gloves to the warehouse. Masks N More keeps about 40 types of industrial masks and 20 kinds of medical industry masks in product inventory.

When an order is received over the Internet or telephone, Tim or Marilyn will find the ordered product in the warehouse and prepare it for shipment.

Customers include hospitals, industrial users, medical offices, nurses, pharmacies, fire departments, tattoo artists and individuals.

"Locally we supply my dentist with masks and gloves," Tim said. "We will get orders from someone sitting at home. Next we will get an order from a hospital or a doctor's office."

Small orders are shipped by the U.S. Postal Service. Most of the larger orders are shipped by UPS.

Since starting in 2003, sales by Masks N More have been similar to a roller-coaster ride.

They decided to sell masks after Tim, who has allergies and asthma, had problem finding ones he liked at retail stores. The name Masks N More was selected so they could expand inventory.

"We figured we would start small," Marilyn said. "We were surprised when we got our first order. …

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