The story of Shoppa’s began with two old, refurbished forklifts and a man everyone knew as Slim. Slim needed a place to resell his auction treasures in Fort Worth, and Jimmy Shoppa’s army store offered the perfect venue for him to do so. In particular, Slim was looking to sell a couple of Toyota forklifts, which had not gained much popularity in the United States despite being tremendously successful products in Japan. As soon as Slim dropped off the refurbished forklifts at Shoppa’s store, they sold quickly. Sensing an incredible market opportunity, Jimmy began traveling abroad to purchase the forklifts himself. No matter how many he bought, he simply could not keep them in stock.
Moving from Old to New
About that time Jimmy got wind that Toyota was looking at a few dealerships to introduce their new product line into Tarrant County and surrounding areas. Jimmy knew these dealerships well, and he knew that he could offer something they could not — namely, OEM exclusivity. The larger dealerships all represented other brands, and the smaller ones were run by uninspired mechanics who could not take Toyota the distance in the marketplace.
As a young and eager entrepreneur with a good reputation, Jimmy caught the attention of Toyota executives. He met with the company’s regional manager and VP of Sales, who flew in to check out Jimmy’s army store and resale yard. Among the pecan-crackers and forklifts for sale, Jimmy showcased his vision (“Over there, where the pecan-crackers are, that will be service, and there, that will be parts.”)
Soon, Jimmy was in California, presenting to Toyota’s executive board. To his delight, he was awarded the Toyota dealership and sales territory. Jimmy was on his way to building an empire that would change the fortune not just for him, but for the many he gathered to build his dream operation, Shoppa’s Material Handling (Shoppa’s for short).
Marking a Milestone
Since its founding in 1981, Shoppa’s has grown tremendously while facing headwinds, enjoying tailwinds and dealing with challenges Jimmy never predicted. But amid a pandemic, economic shifts, and major product discontinuations, Shoppa’s always stayed in the game by hiring exceptional people, working with visionary partners, and focusing on the future needs of its loyal customers.
“Customers look to us for what’s next, and we pave a smooth and uninterrupted path to the future for them. We really are a company focused on intralogistics.”
Empowering Clients through Intralogistics
Intralogistics refers to the art of optimization and automation of every piece of information and materials within a warehouse. It takes the lean methodology to its logical extreme; by implementing new methods of connection and interaction, intralogistics allows information (and materials) to flow as efficiently as possible. It makes customers’ businesses more competitive and profitable. And as Jimmy says, it’s really what Shoppa’s enables its clients to do every day.
Jimmy has said that his vision is to “evolve from a traditional forklift dealership to a major intralogistics solution company, with the portfolio to meet our clients’ warehouse needs in this complex global supply chain. Whether it’s pharmaceuticals or lumber, we’re supporting and sourcing solutions today to answer for what’s next.”
The Shoppa’s Way
This foresight and forward-looking approach are how Shoppa’s has not only succeeded over the last 40 years, but how it has led the industry along the way. And Jimmy has tremendous optimism about the future success of the company.
“We intend to accomplish more in the next ten years than we did in the previous 40 years. It is an exciting time in our business, which is so energizing for myself and my team.”
So, what is Shoppa’s key to success? It’s The Shoppa’s Way — listening to all voices, at every level, with humility and respect. As Jimmy explains, “We have a very open culture where our people can express themselves. We empower those who have initiative and ideas, giving them the freedom to act and room to succeed.”
Given that empowering, people-centric approach, it is not surprising that Jimmy had nothing in mind regarding what he wants to be remembered for. Instead, as he has helped many people build their futures and played some part in their lives, successes, and happiness, he hopes that they have sincere positive views of their time at the company and the impact it has had on them.