My Little Salesman was founded, by Cliff Womack and Richard Pierce, with the purpose to create a classified ad publication and mail it to the logging and forestry operators in Oregon and Washington, creating a single source for forestry equipment buyers in those two states. At the time, the only other option available to buyers of forestry equipment were newspapers printed in local markets.
The first My Little Salesman Catalog was a stitched digest-sized booklet that contained advertisements from dealers, short anecdotes and jokes, as well as regional trade show information. It was produced at home on Womack's kitchen counter by him and Pierce. Each month Pierce would head north, and Womack would head south, from Portland, Oregon. They would sell ads, take photos, design the pages, and then have the pages printed at a local printer. They would take the pages to Womack's residence and hand sew them together into the individual digest catalogs, before taking them to the post office to mail.
|The My Little Salesman magazine had expanded east into Idaho and Nevada and north into Alaska.
My Little Salesman moved from Womack's apartment to their first offices located at 119 East Broadway in the heart of downtown Eugene, Oregon.
My Little Salesman moved to what would become its corporate offices for more than two decades.
|My Little Salesman decided to take a risk and purchase an expensive marketing tool--a half-sized, working semi-truck and van trailer, nicknamed the "Mighty Mite I', which was built by Peterbilt engineers in Salt Lake City. It had a 17.5 foot van trailer, built by Brown Industries, and set with the P.I.E. Trucking livery on the trailer. My Little Salesman replaced the Van Trailer with a fully functioning tank trailer manufactured by Beall Manufacturing. The truck was exhibited by My Little Salesman from 1964 to 1978, in shows all across the western United States. The truck attracted lots of attention and helped build the My Little Salesman brand. It was later sold to a car collector, Al Koenig, in Minnesota.
Richard Pierce left the company to pursue his other business, The Executive Health Club, a fitness facility in downtown Eugene, Oregon.
My Little Salesman tried its first time to create two separate catalogs, by splitting the audience along Heavy Equipment and Trucking audiences. The catalogs were known as the "Heavy Equipment Catalog" and the "Truck Equipment and Trailer Catalog" and ran for 3 months before being combined back into a single "Heavy Equipment Catalog" that same year.
|While in the process of being remodeled, a fire broke out at the Gold Rush Motor Lodge, in Anchorage, Alaska, killing 5 people, including My Little Salesman general manager and co-founder, Cliff Womack.
A major investor in My Little Salesman, George Zellner, reached out to My Little Salesman's other founder, Richard Pierce, and asked him to return to the company. In July, Richard Pierce returned to lead the company forward.
The My Little Salesman Catalog grew so large that it weighed too much for the third-class mailing rates. Pierce took the magazines back to their offices and cut them in half so that they could send them to customers. In September, the My Little Salesman Heavy Equipment Catalog and the My Little Salesman Truck Catalog were born.
My Little Salesman celebrates its 20th anniversary.
|My Little Salesman expanded into auction marketing to get ahead of a downturn in the industry. The new division, Industrial Publishing, provided 48, 72, and 96-hour quick turnaround printed auction marketing brochures to auction clients across the United States. Since this was pre-internet, pre-email, and Fedex and UPS were not able to do 24-hour or same-day delivery nationwide, clients would often send photographs via Greyhound bus or air freight in order to meet the tight turn times.
|Richard Pierce bought out the last of his remaining business partners to become the sole shareholder of My Little Salesman.
|My Little Salesman acquired majority ownership in Koke Printing, from Phillip Koke to allow for expansion of the growing publishing and marketing business.
My Little Salesman started building a state-of-the-art printing and production facility at 2895 Chad Drive, in Eugene, Oregon, which was completed in 1989. The company began moving into the new facility, bringing all operations of My Little Salesman and its subsidiaries, Industrial Publishing and Koke Printing, under one roof.
The company name changed from My Little Salesman, Inc to MLS Inc, a name more in line with the company's growth and expansion into printing, auction marketing, and publishing beyond just the My Little Salesman catalogs.
|My Little Salesman acquired Performance Horse (originally known as Southwestern Horseman) to expand its publishing into the equestrian events market.
|My Little Salesman launched its internet department, starting with MLSInc.com, which quickly transitioned to MyLittleSalesman.com. The original website contained a want-to-buy bulletin board, a calendar of nationwide auctions, and information about the company.
|With Jason Pierce as CEO, online services became a major focus.
The first My Little Salesman online database of searchable client trucks, trailers and heavy equipment became available.
New tools were introduced for existing clients under the name "Vihn.net' (Virtual Inventory Hosting Network). The new system syndicated client's inventory across not just the MyLittleSalesman.com marketplace, but to outside industry partner sites as well. Partner sites included the client's own company website, industry association websites, and other online venues that had large truck and equipment buying audiences. With Vihn.net, relationships were formed with more than 22 State and National Trucking and Auction associations providing syndicated listings from the MyLittleSalesman.com platform into their own association websites to benefit their members. Vihn.net provided the first integrated marketplace for National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), National Trailer Dealers Association (NTDA) and 20 State and National Auction Associations From 2004 to 2007.
|My Little Salesman acquired GSNet.com, a Canadian online-only inventory marketplace previously owned by Trader Classified Media. This acquisition doubled the online listings in the MyLittleSalesman.com marketplace and brought increased exposure to the Canadian market.
My Little Salesman acquired the Lifting and Transportation International magazine, expanding their market reach into cranes and lifting equipment. The magazine, which focused solely on cranes and the lifting and moving of heavy items, was folded into the two existing My Little Salesman publications.
Performance Horse was sold to Morris Communications of Texas.
|Richard Pierce divested My Little Salesman of subsidiaries not related to online marketplaces, specifically Industrial Publishing and Koke Printing, allowing the My little Salesman management to focus on developing new technologies to a narrower market than was covered by all of the other companies combined.
|The Vihn.net Association Manager division, as it was then known, was spun-off to Santiam Data, as National and State associations gained the ability to manage their own marketplaces internally.
|My Little Salesman opened its first office in Austin, Texas, with the goal to recruit and hire technical and marketing professionals.
|My Little Salesman moved its headquarters from Eugene, Oregon, to its Austin, Texas office.
|My Little Salesman shut down its Eugene, Oregon offices and moved its operations entirely to Austin, Texas.
|MyLittleSalesman.com is rolled out after a major overhaul and becomes the first equipment marketplace with a mobile-responsive website.
|My Little Salesman celebrates its 60th anniversary.