Meet the Family

The Beginnings

Ronald-GraduationPerkins Distributing Company has been in the fundraising business for over forty years, helping to supply quality fundraising products to literally thousands of customers to earn needed funds for their organizations. What began in 1968 as a very localized candy fundraiser type of operation, has, over the years, emerged into a nationwide full-featured supplier of the best selling fundraisers available. From frozen cookie dough to a full selection of fundraisers such as lollipops, candy bars, flower bulbs, scratch cards, jerky, meat snacks and much more, they provide just about every type of successful fundraising product available.

In 1968, Jimmie Perkins and his wife Tommie, moved from California back to their home state of Texas and began a small fundraising business which they operated out of a tiny office in their house in Tyler, Texas.
Essentially, they handled one particular brand of chocolate fundraising candy bars and a few small jewelry items. Within a few months, Jimmie began to realize that there was more promise to his upstart business than he had originally anticipated, and a short time later he was appointed working manager of a fundraising company that supplied a slightly larger variety of candy fundraising items. After a bit of salesmanship, he convinced his son, Ronald Tracy, who had just graduated from college, that he should team up with his dad and become a partner in the relatively newly formed Perkins Distributing Company.

Ronald Tracy essentially assumed part of the sales position that his dad had previously occupied, plus a sizeable additional chunk of new territory. In a time frame of shortly more than one year, Jimmie and Ronald Tracy were approached by yet another candy fundraising company who had noticed the significant sales volume that was being generated by the father and son team. This new sales relationship continued for almost two years, until both Jimmie and Ronald Tracy decided that they needed to branch out and begin to handle multiple types of candy fundraisers.

Perkins-Distributing-Booth-JimmyIn just a few years, Jimmie was to retire and leave the entire business in his son’s hands. It was at this time that his son, Ronald Tracy, decided that expanding the operation of the business by the use of major direct marketing catalogs and brochures, would significantly expand the overall sales base, while at the same time offer a much broader selection of products, not limited to just candy fundraising items. During this time, both sales and the customer base grew at very sizeable rate, and in the mid 1990’s, Ronald Tracy’s Son-in-Law, Stephen Olson, came on board as the general sales manager for this close-knit family business.

In the 1990’s it began to become evident that there was a new transition in the way that America was to do business – It was called The Internet! Perkins Distributing Company, although considerably hesitant for a few years, finally realized that the internet was also to be the wave of the future for the fundraising industry. In the late 1990’s they made the plunge and entered the web market by creating a website named iLoveFundraising.com. Since that time they have methodically been working to update their web presence, so that it will be second to none. The web offers tremendous advantages and opportunities to both distributors and customers alike, and although numerous mailings and correspondence are still being sent out, increasingly more of their sales and customer contacts are being generated through iLoveFundraisings’s website presence.

Perkins Distributing/iLoveFundraising has provided fundraising excellence for over 40 years, and wants to be seen as a company that is honest and known for its integrity, as well as the quality of its products. As a family business that is three generations deep, we want to thank you, our customers and prospective customers, for both your business and for your consideration. THANKS!

A Tiny Glimpse

Sometimes it’s just plain fun to see a few real-life, down-to-earth, past and present pictures of people with whom you interact through business Jimmy-Grandaughtersdealings, even though you don’t have the foggiest insight into what they or their family are really all about. Granted, these few pictures aren’t going to shake up your world, but we thought that they may add a little extra “realness” to our statement that we truly are “A family owned and operated business.”

Although Ronald Tracy was the typical macho guy who wanted that first child of his to be a boy, he softened very quickly to his first baby – a precious little baby girl. In fact, she was so awesome, that he was actually hoping that their second child would also be a girl – And She Was! When his wife became pregnant with their third child, he really wanted another girl, but figured that three in a row was really pushing the girl thing. Well, just a few years later the Perkins household consisted of Ronald Tracy, one wife, three daughters, one girl collie dog, and two girl horses. How could a guy possibly be a male chauvinist in an atmosphere so girly!!

When the girls were young, it was a big event for them to go on a business trip once each spring with their dad. He would use that trip to really show them a special time (known today as father-daughter bonding), while he also called on past accounts to schedule their next fall’s candy fundraisers. He would load up the Igloo Coolers with dozens of various milk chocolate fundraising candy bars, at least two of the girls, and take off in the old Ford Taurus to call on schools all over East and Southeast Texas. Obviously, he wasn’t able to call on new sponsors or new schools with the girls at his side, but his past customers really enjoyed seeing the girls with him, and were taken back at how cute and well mannered they were. The girls particularly loved to go into the home economics departments, where Ronald Tracy’s customers often offered them some of the fresh cookies and brownies which the students had been baking.

In the early days of Perkins Distributing, the Perkins home was a virtual warehouse, packed with cases of candy, both for samples, and to sell to current and prospective customers. When someone walked into their house, the sweet smell of milk chocolate bars was extremely intoxicating. Giving candy bars for gifts and presents was a natural for the Perkins daughters, and their friends at school and around the neighborhood loved every minute of it.

When the family would go to Dallas for a weekend fun time, often they would have to share a bit of their space in the car with a few cases of chocolate candy bars which had to be dropped off at a specific location on the way. Trying to keep those candy bars from melting when they stopped for a bathroom break or to go into a restaurant (usually a McDonald’s or Burger King) was no easy chore.

As the Girls grew up, each fall and spring was a time when daddy’s brochures and catalog mailouts had to be folded, stuffed, collated or whatever that particular mailout required. It became an event where the girls’ neighborhood friends would come over to the house and help them get daddy’s mailout ready to go to the Post Office. It’s amazing how quickly candy bars, lots of chips, dip and Dr. Peppers seem to arouse a latent work ethic in teenagers. There were even a few occasions when the girls coerced the entire church youth group to come over to the house and “do” mailouts for their NEEDY Dad.

Well, Perkins Distributing Company no longer operates out of a house, and those cute little girls are now beautiful married mothers with their own special children, but the ties that have made Perkins Distributing Company such a family affair are still intact. Almost every week at least one of the girls comes down to the office to visit, and of course, the grand kids love to come see “Papa”. Steve, the middle daughter’s husband, is pretty much in charge of business operations, and we are all working to make our relatively new website “iLoveFundraising.com” just as special and complete as possible. We appreciate you and each of our customers very, very much. – Ronald Tracy Perkins