A Salute to Mark Drach and His Many Years (and Miles) of Service

Tim Graves (left) congratulating Mark Drach on his retirement!

Handing Over the Keys After More than 600,000 Miles!

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. 

CONGRATULATIONS, MARK! Enjoy. You’ve earned it.

Early Days • Truck (and Train) Loads of Sales

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.

“I went to school half of the day and made sales calls the other half of the day. Everything was medium ochre walnut, we didn’t have the selections we have now. My first order was 45 chairs…that was huge. I ended up selling truckloads and train cars full of stuff.”
Tim: “How’d you get in this business, Mark?”
Mark: “Well, that’s a long story…I started when I was 13. My hockey coach sold office furniture and I assembled and delivered, and then he would take me to McDonald’s.”

Foot in the Dealership Door

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.

“I wanted to sell.
That’s all I wanted to do.”

The Demo Group & iSpace Environments

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.

“We talked for probably two years before we got it all put together…we kept the dream alive.” noted Drach. iSpace bought The Demo Group in 2019, bringing Mark, many of his Demo Group colleagues, and their wealth of auto dealer experience to the growing company.
“We were a mean, lean machine…it was a really great experience.”

– Mark on his time with The Demo Group –

Serving the Dealer – Back-of-the-House, First

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.

“Getting technicians these days is very challenging. The smart dealers are spending money in the shop…so they can recruit technicians to come in and have a positive work environment. The Rousseau product line is the best product out there…it’s unbelievable.”

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. 

“Anybody can build double door storage units with a drawer on top. We trick them out to support their needs…so it’s efficient…when you’re in tune with the paper flow there can be a purpose behind the design. These are retail environments…people spill on chairs, put their feet up on them, have their dogs on them…you want to sell them something that performs. Together we figure out a better way.”
Tim: “One of the products you brought in to offer at iSpace Environments is Rousseau. How did you navigate into the technician and mechanics and shelving area of dealerships?”
Mark: “One of our customers asked us ‘do you do parts shelving?’…and, of course, we replied ‘we sure do!’ We figured it out.”
Tim: “The idea of “client first”…was that something you learned back in Marketing classes at the UofM or something that was just instilled in you at a young age?”
Mark: “We’re working with our customers who have their names on the outside of their buildings. They are very influential, they know everybody. You want to do things right the first time.”


Mark sees his work a lot like how dealers’ see theirs.

“We understand…a guest walks in the door to buy a car…how should they be treated? I can provide the products and give them the best experience that will allow them to be most successful. They rely on us to point them in the right direction.”


If you’re interested in learning more about iSpace Environments’ Auto & Industry solutions get in touch with Tim Graves, our Director of Sales for our Auto & Industrial Group.

Mark has always preferred driving to the customer to discuss their project versus writing an email. His odometers are the proof.

“I bought my previous car in 2012 and traded it in in 2018. It had 420,000 miles on it….the dealer had never seen that many miles…and now my current car’s got 185,000 on it. I’m out there all the time.”