The Story of TELECO

“The quest begins…”
Autumn, 1980 Bill Rogers and his brother Frank are in the home & car audio & video business, called Rogers Stereo, and need three new phone systems for the stores. Frank said, “I know a guy from NY with Southern Bell called ‘Harry the Phone Man.’”
Bill calls Harry and signs a five-year ComKey Contract for three phone systems. As he’s signing, he does a quick calculation of 60 times the monthly payment and it was over $10,000. He says to Harry, "We are going into the phone business!" And so the quest begins…
Winter, 1981 Bill goes to an industry show (USITA) in New Orleans to look for product and meets a man (Larry Meyer) in the Toshiba booth who says, “We have no one in SC; if you can sell one system a month, we will be happy.” To which Bill responds, “If we sell one system a month, we will be out of business!”
“Toshiba was pleased. We were ecstatic!”
Spring, 1981 We incorporated, christened ourselves with the name “TELECO, Inc.,” Harry the Phone Man became our partner and on June 1, 1981, TELECO opened for business on Haywood Road in Greenville, SC.
TELECO sells four Toshiba systems a month for a total of 48. All were Strata III systems (the first three-pair system Toshiba introduced).
Revenue totals $550,000 in Year One. Toshiba was pleased. We were ecstatic!
The climb upward…
1982 Bill always had the idea to open branches/dealers and begins soliciting them.
Burlington and Wilmington, NC, and Jacksonville, FL, are the first three dealerships.
Second year revenue jumps to $950,000.
1983 Dealers all over the east and southeast become part of the TELECO dealership program.
Revenue goes to $2.3 million.
1984 More interconnects added. Revenue hits $3.7 million.
1985 We start TELECO USA in Dallas to expand our dealer base nationwide.
Revenue reaches $5 million.
The awards begin.
1986 TELECO, Inc. is awarded number 278 of the Inc Magazine “Inc 500” fastest-growing private companies in the country.
1987 We buy American Phone Centers from Comdial Corp.
We take over all TELECO USA distribution, which expands us nationwide.
We make the “Inc 500” for the second year in a row.
Revenue hits $7 million.
1988 Charlie Houser, Ellis Elmore, and Frank Robinson buy into TELECO.
TELECO buys US Telecenter’s assets.
TELECO begins private-labeling Toshiba telecom products.
TELECO hosts our first dealer meeting in New Orleans, LA.
Expansion in all directions
1989 TELECO owners start CTG (Corporate Telemanagement Group), a long distance company, and roll it out to TELECO dealers.
Revenue tops $10 million.
TELECO ranked #2 interconnect by Teleconnect Magazine.
1991 TELECO acquires telecom assets of Lanier Worldwide and adds even more dealers.
TELECO ranked #1 interconnect by Teleconnect Magazine with over 150 dealers.
1993 TELECO acquires Innovative Technologies Inc. (ITI) voicemail company and rolls out TELECO’s own line of voice processing systems: Perfect Voice.
Revenue tops $15 million.
1994 TELECO co-develops the first “in-skin” voicemail for Toshiba systems.
TELECO becomes OEM provider of voice mail to WIN Communications.
1996 TELECO grows to over 250 dealer locations and branch offices.
1998 TELECO acquires national account division of TIE Communications and relocates service group to Greenville from Arkansas.
The Crest
1999 Y2K phenomenon causes phone system and voice mail sales to explode. TELECO reaches $43 million in revenue.
Difficult times loom ahead…
2000 TELECO posts first and only profit loss in history after sales fall dramatically after the Y2K scare of 1999.
2001 TELECO signs up the nation’s second largest home improvement company as a national account customer.
TELECO becomes a national distributor for NEC America.
The telecommunications industry takes a hit along with much of the nation’s economy post September 11.
2002 TELECO signs up The Pep Boys—Manny, Moe, and Jack as a national account customer.
2003 TELECO develops “in-skin” voice mail system specifically for WIN Communications.
2005 TELECO sells and installs Perfect Voice systems for all Pep Boys stores in the US and Puerto Rico.
2007 TELECO becomes a national distributor for IPitomy Communications.
The Rally
2008 TELECO releases Perfect Communicator®.
2009 TELECO becomes a national distributor for Star2Star Communications and launches the first and only product of its kind to hit the world of VoIP business communications.