DEA Meeting : Complete Supply

Normally Brian Eltis, Complete Supply, would have asked Keith Horniman, Pilot’s Building Maintenance, to introduce him – but since it’s been like 9 years since he’s done a presentation, he thought he’d do it himself!  First, most important to Brian is his family.  There were many gasps in the audience when he showed his family picture, as he and his wife Cindy have 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls), and 9 grandchildren and all live in Dallas!  He also thanked McShan Florist for his beautiful flower arrangement.

Brian always loves to hear Ron Schulz’s stories of growing up in Chicago and working with his grandfather, so he is going to be (what the Japanese call) Honorably Adopting Ron’s lead is going to tell his story and career in what he calls the paper business.  In 1934, Brian’s father was 17 years old, just out of high school in the middle of the Great Depression.  He needed a job and his grandfather got him one at Louisiana Paper, working in the warehouse for $.35/hour.  On December 7, 1941 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Brian’s father enlisted in the Army at 24 years old.  At that time, he was a Sales Manager for Louisiana Paper.  His father graduated from OCS (Officer Candidate School) as a Captain.  He was one week from being promoted to a Major before the war ended.  He came back to Shreveport in the fall of 1945 at the end of the war.  His father was a good poker player and had won over $10,000 during WWII, which was a fortune at that time.  The day that he arrived home, the man who owner Louisiana Paper came to see him and asked that he be the Manager of ETEX Paper.  His father, who had just arrived back home after 4 years and had money in the bank, didn’t have any interest in the position.  Until the man offered him a car too!  So, the next day, his father took the bus to Tyler and went to work for ETEX Paper.  ETEX Paper became CMI, and CMI sold to Butler Paper in 1983.  When the business sold in 1983, his father was a partner in the business and Chairman of the Board!

Brian graduated from the University of Texas (without honors) in December 1973.  He did graduate but was just lucky to get out of college!  When he graduated, he went to work for CMI on January 1, 1974, which means he has been in the paper business for 45 years!  Well for longer than that, as Brian use to help his father in the warehouse since at the age of 12.  So really a total of 56 years!! And that might have included a few unauthorized rides on the forklift!

CMI sold to Butler Paper in 1983 and Brian was the manager of the Dallas business area.  CMI was in 17 cities and Butler was in 30 cities, and the only city with both was Dallas.  For whatever reasons, Brian was not chosen to continue to manage the Dallas area.  So, he quit and went to work for NCH Corporation and worked for them for 9 years until he went to work for his best friend, Lonnie Pollock of Pollock Paper.  Lonnie had recently fired his Corporate Sales Manager.  After telling his wife, she said you need to apply for that job!  And since he always does what Cindy tells him to do – he did, and he was hired.  Brian worked for Pollock Paper for 5 years, it was a great gig for about 2 years.  Apparently, Brian’s love for gossiping about his friend’s affair got him fired!  And he remembers that conversation vividly!  After getting to the point that he was being fired for gossiping, his friend offered him 2 months of severance pay.  Brian argued that he deserved more than that, but his friend replied, “I can sleep nights giving you less!”

Brian then started Southern Distribution Services in 1998, with a silent partner who put up the money.  A year and a half later, his partner bought a paper company in Philadelphia that he was relocating to Dallas, and he wanted Brian to close Southern Distribution Services and come to work for him as a Sales Manager – he would pay him more money than he’d ever made before and it would be the greatest thing to ever happen!  And it was…until a year and a half later when his partner went bankrupt!

After that in 2001, Brian started CE Supply – which stands for Cindy Eltis – and she was his partner.  He sold paper products, janitorial supplies, industrial and retail packaging, printing paper and pretty much anything else legal to sell! Brian then joined DEA in August 2004.  In 2012, Brian merged companies with an old family friend, who owned Complete Supply.  And Brian became President of Complete Supply…for a short time before his partner decided they needed catchier titles – and Brian then gained the title, Problemsolver.  Complete Supply is one of the only independently owned companies remaining and sells primarily janitorial, custodial, laundry/warewash and food service supplies.

Brian’s target markets are:

  • Public and Private Schools
  • Local, State, and Federal Governments
  • Cleaning / Janitorial Contractors
  • Healthcare Institutions (i.e. nursing home, long term care facilities)
  • Religious Institutions
  • Anybody that washes their hands or uses the bathroom is a potential customer!

What Do They Do:

  • Sell Products
  • Service and Repair Equipment
  • Hang Dispensers
  • Logistics
  • Training and Consulting

Complete Supply is currently in the middle of a big job for Arlington ISD, hanging 7,000 dispensers over the next 3 months!  Almost all their competitors do not have their own crews and hire outside services.  This gives Complete Supply the opportunity to be very responsive to customers, as well as, train and consult them on new ideas and products.  Brian then did a Tell and Show on a new cleaning product.  He asked the audience, “What is most important to Public Schools?”.  Answer, the kids!  When kids are sick and not at school, it costs public schools in Texas around $100/day/pupil.  For Richardson ISD that averages 36,000 students, that’s $3,000,000/day in funds!  So, to keep kids healthy and coming to school, Brian showed off a new commercial disinfecting tool that uses electrostatic charge to cover more area with less work!

Check out his website here to see more of his great products!

One Response to “DEA Meeting : Complete Supply”

  1. Maude Cejudo says:

    Wonderful, informative presentation by Brian Eltis on Complete Supply. Cautionary information on what we thought was a clean surface with our normal cleaning , disinfectant tools and what is really true. And how a new commercial electrostatic tool allows improved results. This would be put to great use in the airline industry especially the tray areas. We all want not to be sick.

    Dr Maude Cejudo

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