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MSI, From Part-Time Business to Nationwide Distributor
When Manu and Rika Shah emigrated from India to the United States in the 1970s, Rika searched for a flexible job that would allow her to stay at home with their kids. In 1975, she decided to start one herself, and M S International, Inc. (MSI) was born in the basement of their home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Today, it has become a leading nationwide distributor of flooring, wall and countertop surfaces with more than $2 billion in annual revenue and 2,000 employees worldwide.
Raj Shah is the current MSI President, and son of Rika and Manu. He remembers the moment everything changed for his parents. “My mom always had the entrepreneurial bug and my uncle in India had landed upon a black granite quarry. He asked her to try and sell it. She started selling rough blocks of granite in the U.S. and Canada from the basement of our home. In 1981, the business received the contract to provide the granite for the Vietnam War Memorial. That’s when both my parents felt the business had legs.”
As MSI expanded their reach, Manu and Rika’s sons, Raj and Rup, joined the family business. “We grew up around MSI as it started the year I was born,” says Raj. “Family vacations and dinner discussions were always about rocks growing up.”
Raj and Rup used their previous work experience in investment banking to grow the company’s scale and scope. Securing an exclusive partnership with The Home Depot took MSI to new heights.
And while financial success is great for any business, the Shahs founded MSI with the goal of creating jobs, building partnerships, and treating people like an extension of their family.
“With this increase in the size of the pie, MSI and its supply chain have been able to produce jobs for more than 150,000 people worldwide,” says Raj.