Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sales Soar for Custom Computer Cables

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sales Soar for Custom Computer Cables

Article excerpt

PLANO, Texas - Jack Atkins is a modest fellow, but he does admit to having great connections, important contacts in a bewildering age of high technology.

The connections are not the people kind. They're the computer kind.

Atkins and his wife founded Custom Computer Cables Inc., a company which produces the wire connections used by industry to make computers talk to each other and the outside world. The cables link terminals to terminals and terminals to printers and other devices.

""There was a need. We filled it,'' he said.

Last year, the company produced roughly 60,000 cables for clients in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Sales topped $1 million, marking a sizzling 300 percent annual rate of growth in the first four years of operation, easily outpacing the breathless expansion of the computer industry as a whole.

""Even we were astounded,'' Atkins said. ""If you'd told me a few years ago, we'd have this kind of business, I'd have laughed at you.''

Five years ago, in fact, CCC's production unit consisted of one person - Carol, Jack's wife. Its headquarters was a spare bedroom, later a garage. The initial investment - $2,500.

Today, the upstart firm occupies 6,000 square feet of modern office space in an industrial park north of Dallas. It boasts 25 employees including a small sales staff.

""Our timing was fantastic. We got into the business when things started to take off in the industry.''

Atkins, 44, is not a mass production artist. His company works on a custom basis, preferably for large dealer operations, turning out products they find too time-consuming or costly to produce themselves.

One special order, for instance, called for custom-made cable nearly a half-mile long. Other wire orders called for built-in intelligence capabilities.

""They're known as smart cables,'' said the Lawton, Okla., native. ""They have logic built into the ends of them. They do more than transfer data. They have the ability to transfer data from one cable to another.''

CCC's clients include several large computer distributors, a domestic automaker, and a major computer manufacturer.

The business began almost by accident. …

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