MS Industrial Enterprises Inc. #37 — Entrepreneur likes to build businesses from scratch

Top fifty fastest growing companies: MS Industrial Enterprises Inc. #37 — Entrepreneur likes to build businesses from scratch

Mike Shatto is a jack of all trades — and master of a lot of them.

For example, he started his company, MS Industrial Enterprises Inc., in the basement of his home four years ago with $700 in working capital. It is estimated to reach $1.5 million in business this year.

MS Industrial Enterprises Inc. distributes a variety of electrical, mechanical and power transmission parts and employs four full- and three part-time workers.

Then there was his unique music store in Carlisle that specialized in used compact discs. Trusting his business instincts, Shatto sold the store for a profit before the market became flooded with secondhand discs.

And then there’s Collective Base Software, the computer software he helped develop and which he sells, that catalogs and keeps track of numerous personal belongings.

MS Industrial Enterprises supplies parts to some of the largest companies in Central Pennsylvania, such as Purina Mills Inc., Richfood Inc., and Hershey Creamery Co.

In some cases, he’s the exclusive distributor. “I’m assigned a territory and I’m a distributor for certain product brands in this area,” Shatto explained.

Shatto, who is sole owner and president of MS Industrial Enterprises Inc., learned the business while working for a similar company that went out of business. Shatto found himself without a job, but not without work.

At the time he owned the Play It Again record store in Carlisle that primarily sold used CDs. That was his first business venture.

But Shatto saw real money in the distribution business and within a year of starting MS Industrial Enterprises Inc., he sold the record business.

“One of the reasons was I started this (MS Enterprises) company and I wanted to spend a lot of time on it,” he recalled. “It was also good timing in the marketplace, because I was one of the very first independent used-CD guys around. I got in and made my money and left. Now the market is flooded. It was a good-timing move also.” Timing, and an eye for opportunity, have led Shatto to buy a two-acre farm on Old York Road in Etters with offices in the farmhouse and warehousing in the renovated barn. The facility also is home to the software business Shatto started called Collective Base Software.

The business grew out of the entrepreneur’s personal experiences.

“In February 1996, I had a huge CD collection — 3,000 or 4,000 — and some ended up missing due to work being done on my house by a number of contractors. So I had a hard time getting reimbursement from the insurance because I hadn’t categorized them,” he said.

Shatto said he asked Steve Yesconis, whom Shatto describes as a “computer whiz,” if he could write a computer program to categorize all Shatto’s music for receipts and insurance purposes. “One thing led to another and we decided to start a company to release that software.”

All this was happening during the same time Shatto was struggling to launch his distribution business.

“About a year before we started that software company, all I knew about computers was playing Microsoft Golf. My ex-partner helped me out a lot but I’m basically self-taught,” he said.

“We’ve been on a pace of between 30 percent and 40 percent growth each year since I started,” Shatto said. “We’re on that pace in 1998, also. We’re probably going to be in a 40 percent to 50 percent growth in 1998 and we’re looking to really smash that in 1999.”

Shatto’s customers seem to appreciate his service-driven approach.

“He sells service more than anything,” said Darrell Cowden, plant superintendent at Consolidated Nutrition, Camp Hill. The firm did business with Shatto when he worked for his former employer and were convinced by his aggressive service to go with his new company.

Copyright Journal Publications Inc. Oct 09, 1998

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