Louisville business uses Internet to go global with its niche products

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) — A Louisville businessman is using his past experience in the sporting goods industry to create a new business and while the company may be small, its reach is global.

A small manufacturing operation in the Blue Grass Commerce Center is selling its high end vintage products all over the globe.

“We make all of our products to look like they did and appeared in the late 1800s and early 1900s,” says Will Jacoby, the owner of Steurer and Jacoby.

Jacoby came out of retirement several years ago to open the business, which uses sewing machines to create vintage golf bags or golf carriers as they were called during the turn of the 20th century. It also makes other leather goods including backpacks.

“The public seems to have a lot of love and desire for these retro items and this is our niche,” says Jacoby.

He says business is so good, it takes about eight weeks to fill an order.

“We do fifty percent of our business in the United States,” he says, “and the other fifty percent is between Europe and Australia.”

Jacoby says Switzerland is one his biggest customers, which might be surprising but he says citizens don’t mind playing golf in the snow.

He shows us a picture and explains it. “You seen an orange ball and some people might think that it is putt putt, because there is a castle in the background, but it is actually a regulation golf course in Switzerland.”

Without the internet, Jacoby’s company probably would not exist and more small businesses could take a lesson from his niche business by thinking global.

For any business that is serious about growth, maintaining jobs and creating jobs, exporting is a very important part of their business plan,” says Mona Musa of the Export Assistance Center in Louisville, a part of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Jacoby says he is selling more than just a product.

“We are concerned about quality and not quantity,” he says.

Jacoby says when he finally retires for good, he hopes his children can take over the business.

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