Portland Transmission Warehouse Succeeds By Using Advice From SCORE Mentor
As President of Portland Transmission Warehouse (PTW), John Bradshaw is part of seven-decade family tradition that began when his father, Gene, opened a general automotive repair facility in Oregon’s largest city. Over the years, the Bradshaw’s began specializing in automatic transmissions and, later, retail and wholesale parts distribution. John felt that PTW was still evolving as a small business. There were always new issues, concerns and ideas where he felt he could use some special expertise, a different perspective, and good advice. Those needs led John to Portland SCORE.
John joined PTW at his father’s request after college and brief stint as a lawyer. “It was different work from being a lawyer,” John recalled. “Every day had something different—inventory, operations, sales and marketing; you name it. Dad and I took night courses to build our business management skills and keep the company growing.”
PTW enjoyed continued growth, expanding from its original 1,000-square-foot building, with apple boxes for shelves, to a 32,500- square-foot warehouse storing more than 75,000 parts. The Bradshaw’s commitment to their employees and customers helped the company weather an unexpected financial crisis following Gene’s death in 1990, and a market downturn in 2000.
“Sometimes, you learn more from losing than from winning,” John says.
The Bradshaw family is also proactive in the community, having sponsored Portland’s popular annual “Spring Classic” car show since 1982. John has served on the Portland Small Business Advisory Committee, the Central Eastside Industrial Council, and the Governor’s Small Business Advisory Committee. Ross is following his father’s footsteps, collecting an impressive list of his own community service activities.
Small wonder that PTW has earned a number of well-deserved awards, such as the 2003 Small Family Business of the Year from the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University; the 2004 MassMutual National Family Small Business of the Year; and the SBA’s 2007 Oregon Family-Owned Business of the Year.
John is first to admit that while the accolades are nice, he’s prouder of PTW’s investment in its customers, employees, and community—including spreading the word about SCORE.
John went to Portland SCORE where he began working with a team of volunteer mentors to address concerns such as inventory management, information technology upgrades and establishing a Web presence. SCORE mentors also served as a sounding board for John and his son Ross, who now serves as PTW’s general manager.
So impressed was John with SCORE’s services that he became one of their biggest supporters, recommending the Portland office and its services to customers, prospects and participants in his company’s regular seminars.
John says, “SCORE is a means by which we can help the community. We give flyers from Portland SCORE to our sales staff to distribute on their visits and include them with our invoices. The more, we can spread the word about this great organization, the better it is for everyone.”