BEND, Ore. – September 9th, 2015 – Mike Williamson, General Manager of Paladin Data Corporation, shrugs his shoulders when asked how Paladin will celebrate 35 years of business. “We might have to find a great pizza recipe and fire up that pizza oven in the break room.” No small accomplishment, Paladin has been getting things right for many years and continues to grow its business through a keen focus on customer service.
EDCO: What does Paladin do?
MW: Paladin specializes in point of sale (POS) software for hardware stores, lumber yards, retail stores, and pharmacies. Our straightforward POS system helps these types of businesses manage their inventory, cost and margins, while also saving them a lot of time.
EDCO: You’re celebrating your 35th Anniversary this year. Congratulations! How have things changed over the years and what has Paladin done to adapt?
MW: Prior to 1980 when Paladin was founded, Central Oregon was all about lumber. When the recession hit, the logging industry was hit hard and the town was basically being boarded up. We had no other industries here.
About that same time, the modern PC was being invented and company founder, Dan Nesmith, saw an opportunity to create software programs utilizing that new technology. Our POS software allowed businesses to manage a lot of physical inventory and we’ve been continuing innovation ever since. We’re currently working on a suite of mobile applications that will enable our customers to access our software from anywhere on their mobile devices.
EDCO: How does Paladin differentiate itself from its competition?
MW: It’s all about our people. We believe that customer service is the best way to differentiate yourself from your competition and to do that well, you need great people. We’ve been lucky in that regard. We’ve found amazing people through referrals and word-of-mouth, so we tend to hire within families and friend groups. In fact, we’ve got a few married couples that work here.
Paladin also does a great job of adopting the culture of each vertical we work with. Whether it’s a hardware store or a pharmacy, each one has its own set of products, terminologies, and challenges. We make a huge effort to understand each culture as well as their business needs.
EDCO: How has EDCO helped your company grow?
MW: EDCO helped us secure funds through the Deschutes County Economic Development program and helped us locate and secure our new facility. The money we received helped drive some of our recent business decisions to relocate and hire more people. We moved from 12,000 sf at the Bend airport to our current 19,000 sf “campus” on Awbrey Butte. And, we now have 44 employees.
EDCO: Any advice for start-ups hoping to be as successful as Paladin?
MW: Work hard, stay focused, hire good people, and continue to find ways to add value for your customers.