AMMEX Started as an Entrepreneurial Dream
"When I started this business, I didn’t get coached by anybody. I don’t recall when I was in business school ever learning anything about this."
— Fred Crosetto, Founder
Fred Crosetto, an entrepreneurial 24-year-old law student at the University of Washington, founded AMMEX in 1988.
As an undergraduate Crosetto had studied international business at a time it when it was most definitely not trendy. The origins of AMMEX are truly humble: Crosetto opened his first office in Bellevue, Washington, a basement location overlooking a parking lot.
After spending two lean years lifting his nascent company up by its bootstraps—with invaluable help from his stepmother, Pam, who quickly becomes the office’s "do-everything person"—Crosetto opens his retail business. The first month, he sells 50 cases and makes deliveries in a borrowed van. The office isn’t technically on the UPS route, which requires employees to stand by the fence and wave down the UPS driver.
1992 - 1993
That Dream Grows Rapidly into Reality
"We had all our customers’ files in a cabinet, and I would pull a physical file, call them up, and say hey, do you need gloves this month? Maybe they’d order two cases."
— Matt Rainey, National Sales Rep
We moved into our first combination office and warehouse in 1992; an 862-square-foot building in Bellevue. In June, team member Matt Rainey joined the company as its first full-time employee and first sales representative. (He later left for a decade but returned in 2008 and remains with us today.)
Our commitment to high-quality products paid off in 1993 with a ringing endorsement from the American Dental Association, which rated AMMEX’s medical-grade gloves Number 2 in the industry—an enormous boon to a company still finding its footing. Wasting no time in taking advantage of the accolades, the team created flyers, tri-folded them, and inserted a glove in each before mailing them. Within a week of the mailer going out, the phone was ringing off the hook, and business took off.
That same year, our rapid growth was reflected in our next location: a 2,300-square-foot office and warehouse in Kirkland, Washington. Accounting team member Ina Snethen joined AMMEX—and is still with the company, making her the employee with the longest continual tenure.
1994 - 1999
Finding a Home in Kent, Washington
"When we would get an order we would get so excited. If it was an order for five cases, woo!, it was party time."
— Ina Snethen, Assistant Controller
In 1994, AMMEX made its first acquisition, purchasing the domestic glove division of global medical company Sime Health, an offshoot of a company in Malaysia called Sime Darby, which was one of the largest producers at that time of latex concentrate.
After the acquisition, business accelerated exponentially—roughly 760 percent over five years. Team member Mack Mekkahavong joined AMMEX in 1995 and remains with us today.
In 1999, the unabated growth continued: we relocated to a 70,000-square-foot facility in Kent. An in-house customer service team was formed, and our team grew to 40-plus members. Steven Ilg, now the vice president of marketing, joined the company and established the marketing department.
2000 - 2010
An Era of Global Expansion
"When I started at AMMEX, there were maybe six salespeople, with me doing marketing. It was a tight-knit group, fun, very boot-strappy like a startup."
— Steven Ilg, Vice President of Marketing
In 2002, we attended our first Master of Business Dynamics program with Verne Harnish, the founder of the Entrepreneurs Association, who goes on to write the renowned business books "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits" and "Scaling Up." The MBD program is tailored specifically to help firms implement strategies for handling growth. It becomes a major game-changer for the way we do busines.
In January of 2005, we opened operations in Shanghai, China. The company was successful, but its focus continued to evolve over time, eventually becoming a full-time glove sales operation in the domestic China market. Today, it has four offices, three distribution centers, and about 100 sales representatives. Aided by the Chinese government’s push for increased food and industrial safety, burgeoning sales have driven significant growth.
After reading the book "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman, Crosetto was inspired to further expand AMMEX’s operations globally. At the time, business process outsourcing (BPO) was just beginning to become prevalent in the Philippines, and AMMEX iSupport was created in 2006.
2011 - 2018
Digital Support to Grow Partnerships
I’ve always had a customer focus. I’m definitely a sales and marketing guy. If you can see everything through a sales lens, a customer-oriented bias, the business will continue to grow.
— Keyo Gold, President
In 2011, our North American moved to its current location at 1019 W. James St. in Kent.
Over the years, Crosetto shifted his focus to growing AMMEX China. As a result, there was a need for additional leadership at our Kent location. In 2014, Vice President of Sales, Keyo Gold, became the first president of AMMEX North America. In the last four years, he has made measurable impact to our company’s culture and success.
Part of that commitment to growth has involved a deepening focus in our expanded online presence. Since 2015, our digital marketing and marketing teams have grown significantly in order to expand the offered value for our partners.
In 2018, we debuted a redesigned AMMEX.com, making it possible to source wholesale disposable gloves at the click of a mouse. The new platform merges customer support resources and ease of access.