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It Started with a Boomerang
Amy Frey’s international trade consulting business, ATC International, Inc., of Silver Spring, Md., began in 1991 with boomerangs. And her business has been booming ever since. Her dream of a career in international trade began as a child when her father would return from foreign trips with a gift of a doll dressed in native attire. But instead of dreaming of a doll house, Frey dreamed of a warehouse.
In college and graduate school Frey studied international business. After graduation, Frey was offered a job in Australia identifying companies to receive government grants and assistance for exporting.
As Frey was preparing to leave Australia in 1990, several companies impressed with her skills suggested she provide consulting services upon her return to the U.S.
That suggestion led Frey to start ATC International. The company began in a small bedroom with a fax machine. “The fax would ring in the middle of the night (which was the middle of the day in Australia) and I would lie awake wondering if I should get up and read it,” Frey said.
Although Frey had an educational background in business and professional experience in exporting, she knew that even the most successful entrepreneur needs assistance. In 2000, Frey turned to SBA’s resource partner SCORE—Counselors to America’s Small Business—for advice. Frey worked with Washington, D.C., chapter counselor Ann Dobbs, a former partner with a supermarket chain, who provided help with employee relations, legal issues, insurance and banking. “Being able to share my concerns and questions with Ann has been enormously valuable,” said Frey.
Frey’s success was recognized in 2004 when she was named the Exporter of the Year for the Washington metropolitan area by the U.S. Business Administration. Today, ATC offers U.S.-based warehousing and business management services that are designed specifically to make doing business in the U.S. easier domestically and internationally. ATC, which has warehouses on both the East and West Coast, distributes a wide variety of consumer products.