Stop 12: Tri-Mountain/Mountain Gear
Irwindale, CA

Even on a Sunday afternoon, you can feel the vibe in the Irwindale, CA, office of Top 40 supplier Tri-Mountain/Mountain Gear (asi/92125). While no machines are humming and employees aren’t milling about, Glenn Oyoung, chief operating officer of the 100-employee company, is his ever-energetic self describing the culture of his family-run company. “We strive for a Trader Joe’s culture. We’re laid back, but everybody works hard and knows what’s expected of them,” Oyoung says. “It’s an entrepreneurial culture where everybody just does whatever it takes to get the job done.”

And while everybody’s getting the job done at this rapidly growing and expanding company, they also know how to have fun and joke around with each other. “It’s a casual, real environment,” Oyoung says. “You should have a good sense of humor if you’re going to work here.”

Once you work at this company, you’re like family to the owners. Daniel Tsai and his wife Rosy started the business in 1993. It now also consists of their kids, Jennifer (vice president of operations) and Danny (vice president of merchandising), and Jennifer’s husband, Glenn. “The family business nature of our company definitely helps to create a good, positive culture,” says Danny, who grew up in the business, packing boxes at an early age and then coming back after a stint with Cintas following graduation from the University of Southern California. “We treat all of our employees like family, and I think they can feel that. It creates a loyal culture that you don’t find everywhere.”

Tri-Mountain also takes care of the little things to celebrate employee successes and make sure everybody feels comfortable. In addition to regular company parties, speeches by management to keep everybody updated and multiple occasions to get staffers together outside of work, Tri-Mountain has a special bell in its customer service department that gets a lot of attention at this company.

While on this Sunday visit we’re allowed to ring the rather loud bell, it’s the top customer service employees who get to ring it every Friday. “Two people get noticed every week and they can ring the bell as loud as they like,” Oyoung says. “It’s a little thing, but the whole company gets into it, and the people who get the honor of ringing the bell every week get a special recognition they feel proud about.”

It’s that kind of fun atmosphere that also recognizes hardworking employees that has led Tri-Mountain to big success recently. The company increased its sales by 20% in 2010, and is on pace to duplicate and even surpass that result this year. Plus, management is investing in the business by practically doubling the size of its product line this year by adding more than 200 new products. “We’re in an aggressive growth mode right now,” Oyoung says. “And I think our employees really enjoy being a big part of that success and that growth.”

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