When Dave Dreiling graduated from Kansas State University in 1989 with a degree in marketing, he and a partner went into business together selling customized imprinted sweat-shirts, T-shirts and other logo’d apparel to fraternities and sororities. They called their company “It’s Greek To Me,” and to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, they made house calls, giving potential customers the chance to try on and buy products on the spot.
“When I first started this business, many people—including five banks—thought it would fail,” said Dreiling, 40. “But I was just too bullheaded to listen, so I went and did it anyway.”
Luckily for him, he didn’t take the naysayers’ advice. Dreiling stayed with the fledgling business, buying out his partner in 1991. He also expanded its reach to include the high-school market, where he found a receptive audience. By eliminating the middleman, Dreiling was able to offer customized jackets and the like to high-school groups at a value price. The business, which evolved into GTM Sportswear, hasn’t stopped growing since.
Today, about 85% of GTM’s business comes via its custom division, which sells imprinted sportswear to athletic teams, booster clubs, cheer/gymnastic squads and other athletic groups. The company also operates “The K-State Super Store” and “Cats Closet,” the retail arm of the Kansas State Athletic Department.
Dreiling, who grew up in the retail business (his family owned a small specialty apparel chain in Kansas) felt the entrepreneurial pull at a young age. Always industrious, he bought a limousine while in college and started a car service.
In addition to running GTM Sports-wear, Dreiling is the founder of and majority investor in “Hungry Cats,” a group that operates five Quiznos stores in several markets. He also has acquired the Kansas franchise for Growth Coach, a home-based, business-to-business coaching system.
How does he find the time for everything?
“In order to balance all of my businesses, I make sure I stay very efficient at work,” Dreiling said. “I focus a lot of my time around putting the right management in place.”
President GTM Sportswear Manhattan, Kan.Annual sales: $28 millionType of business: Direct marketer of customized logo jackets, uniforms and sportswearAreas of operation: Nationwide
Dreiling said he’s learned over the years not to make a business deal based on the deal alone.
“I don’t care how good the deal looks,” he explained, “if it’s not with someone I trust and if it’s not with someone I want to spend time with, I don’t want to do it. It all comes back to people.”
At the end of the day, Dreiling enjoys spending time with the people that matter most to him: his wife Kristen and their two children, Tyler, 14, and Morgan, 12.
CompUSA may get a new look
ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.
According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.
The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.
Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.
While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.
“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.
CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.
The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.
Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans
DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.
Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.
Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:
“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.
“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”