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Discount Shopper

Kos Noori, the owner of Canoga Park-based Access Purchasing Network, has a slogan that sums up the mission of his firm: Let us handle your business, so you can handle your business. Noori’s firm occupies an unusual position in the economy, serving as a purchasing firm that leverages the buying power of its 700-plus clients to wrangle cheap goods and massive savings that benefit all parties involved. Noori claims that through his well-established contacts with vendors across the nation and the reputation that his firm has built over the last three decades, APN is able to save its clients between 20 and 40 percent yearly on operating costs, in addition to freeing them up to focus on strategy and long-term planning rather than constantly trying to cut costs to tighten up the bottom line. “For example, if you buy CDs for $1 per CD from Office Depot, I can get that identical CD for 40 or 50 cents,” Noorsi said. “Now, it might be from Office Depot or it might be from Staples or a similar retailer, but I can always get the identical product for a lower price. When a firm becomes our client, the first thing we do is analyze their invoices and then we personally negotiate a better deal for them with all of our vendors. If we can’t save them money, we don’t get paid, as we take a percentage of the savings.” Noori’s clients cut a wide swath across the economy, ranging from Hollywood post-production houses to auto dealerships, from manufacturers to small mom and pop stores. APN doesn’t limit what supplies it can deliver for a company, as Noori maintains that the company does anything it can to win savings for its clients. Pretty much everything “We’ll get someone to fix their toilets, we’ll buy their cameras for clients, or their video tapes, their office supplies, their janitorial supplies, anything they need to be successful, except for talent,” Noori said. Noori broke into the purchasing industry in 1979, when he founded APN, as a sideline from his day job as a head of purchasing for a major corporation. “One day I was having dinner with one of my friends and he suggested that I should help other businesses to save money, as I’d been already helping him and several other of my friends save,” Noori said “Soon, I started doing it for several small companies and I’d just take a small percentage of what I was able to save them and at the same time it helped me increase my leverage with suppliers.” Meanwhile, Noori’s success at his day job led him to be recruited away to handle purchasing for Clothestime, where he was immediately able to reduce the company’s expenditures on supplies from six percent of its revenues to a mere three percent. Soon Guess Jeans heard of Noori’s success at Clothestime and recruited him away. Noori spent three years at Guess, helping them save $6 million his first year alone, before deciding to go into business for himself full-time in 1991. But success wasn’t necessarily a given, as he immediately ran into an obstacle with his first client, Spelling Entertainment, then Spelling Television. “Immediately after going into business full-time, Spelling placed an order for $200,000 worth of product. I had the order in my hand but we certainly didn’t have that much capital,” Noori said. “None of the banks would lend me the money and I had to mortgage my house and take on massive credit card loans to make sure that we came through for them.” But since that first order the business has grown rapidly, as over the last decade Noori has begun expanding outside of California. Currently, APN operates offices in Canoga Park, Phoenix, New York City, and Maryland. Additionally, Noori is in the process of opening up digs in Houston, which he envisions will be the APN distribution hub. In the last five years, APN’s number of employees and its amount of yearly revenue has practically doubled, as the company grossed nearly $5 million this year, up from $2.5 million at the turn of the decade, in addition to going from 35 full-time employees to 65. Lowest prices Noori chalks up his success to his ability to get the lowest possible prices for his customers and making sure that they are satisfied. Kathleen Lindsey, the controller at Simi Valley Ford, wasn’t initially pleased when her boss, the company’s owner told her that they were going to use APN for their purchasing needs. However, her fears were allayed. “I certainly had my reservations, but I have to tell you the one stop shop in Noori has been fantastic. He works hard and approaches any vendor with no qualms at all, trying to get us a better rate,” Lindsey said. “We save a great deal more now every month and even before APN we had already shopped around for the best prices. I’m really happy with them, they’re a pleasure to work with.” Scott Mitchell, the vice president of Santa Fe Springs-based Boba-Loca, also spoke highly of the level of service that APN provides for his firm. “Noori is amazing,” Mitchell said. “He’s got contacts and resources that are just too good to believe.” As for the future, Noori has bold plans, as his goal is to take APN into every state. Additionally, Noori wants to offer his services for free to the non-profit and education sector. But first, he wants to expand his company’s reach markedly within the Southern California area. “We want to provide our services for free to any non-profit or school, that’s definitely one of my main goals,” Noori said. “Second, we want to grow at least 1000 percent next year. We’ve penetrated certain industries pretty well. I currently have 25-30 auto dealerships for clients, but we want to get all of them in Southern California. We also already have many of the post-production houses in the area, but we want 75 to 80 percent of all of them.” In order to achieve these lofty goals, Noori is resolute in his determination to improve his company’s services. “We’re going to change every year for the better. I want to improve our customer service and better understand our customers,” Noori said. “We’re also going to grow into different industries. We’ll have offices in every state and after we get the Houston office up and running. We’re probably going to open offices in Hawaii.”

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