Tim Graves (left) congratulating Mark Drach on his retirement!
After a career spanning more than four decades, and more than 600,000 miles on his trips to reach out to his customers, our Senior Auto & Industrial Sales Guru, Mark Drach, recently retired. Before his departure he sat down with Tim Graves, Auto & Industrial Director of Sales, to share his story and capture some of the secrets of his success.
Mark’s first exposure to the commercial furniture world was when he was a teenager. His hockey coach put him to work assembling chairs when he was 13 and had him making deliveries in their 4-on-the-tree delivery van by the time he had his driver’s license. Then, as a sophomore at the UofM (before computers, and before panel systems were really a thing) Mark was working his side hustle: knocking on doors, toting a briefcase and business cards, selling office gadgets and furniture in the Twin Cities.
In the early 1990’s, Mark and a team he and his partner had assembled made their first in-roads in the Auto Market, selling back-of-the-house products to what was then Saturn of St. Paul. Mark’s no-nonsense style, dedication to his customers – and his ability to use his connections to get the right products into stores – translated into more deals in the front-of-the-house, and became hallmarks of his career in the auto niche that would enfold over the next thirty years.
Around 2009, after making significant strides in the Auto market, Corporate Options began to move in other directions, so Mark joined the Demo Group. Founder Bob Demo, who had been one of Mark’s first reps and a friend for many years, had developed the Demo Group into a full-service provider to auto dealers across the Midwest. Mark brought a very large project for Minnetonka BMW to Demo, and many of his other customers followed. Mark’s Demo Group team included Deb Rhody and Stephanie Serre – who you might recognize as key players in iSpace’s current Auto & Industrial Team.
Fast forward through another ten years of wins, through countless deals and projects in more than twenty states, and around that time Bob Demo began thinking about retirement. Enter Joel Peterson of iSpace Environments – who was looking to expand into other vertical markets. Mark and Joel were introduced, began to chat, and as things tend to happen in Mark’s career, one great opportunity led to another.
Mark’s early conversations with Joel Peterson often brought up the idea of working from the back-of-the-house into the front-of-the-house with dealerships.
Mark and his teams have also developed innovative front of the house solutions. A significant potion of that work is custom millwork built with dealer’s unique workflows in mind. From top-loading file systems, to custom key cabinets, Mark and his team have designed solutions, working together with the client.
Mark sees his work a lot like how dealers’ see theirs.