WASHINGTON, DC, May 6, 2019 — On May 6, Akron, Ohio-based EarthQuaker Devices will be honored with an award from the U.S. Small Business Administration during National Small Business Week activities.
Founder and president Jamie Stillman and his wife, Chief Executive Officer, co-owner Julie Robbins, receive the Exporter of the Year award at 12:45 pm EST during an event broadcasted on the U.S. Small Business Administration Facebook page.
Hand-crafted effects pedal manufacturer EarthQuaker Devices, top-six in the U.S. and one of the top-10 in the world, create products that are available in over 865 retail locations in approximately 50 countries. Its key retailers include Guitar Center, Sam Ash, Sweetwater and Thomann. The company has sold approximately 250,000 units.
The company’s current workforce reaches over 50 individuals, and has been praised for its commitment to inclusion, diversity and cooperation with other pedal manufacturers by Best Guitar Effects. The company also has an in-house global marketing team fluent in seven languages (Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Czech, and Polish), and, in 2018, rolled out a live dealer training program, which has been completed in 31 cities.
The company leveraged their Small Business Development Center Export Assistance Network, which provides free, confidential counseling to exporters and has offices throughout Ohio. The network, an SBA resource partner, assists small- and medium-sized businesses with international business planning, market research, export documentation, local product requirements and logistics.
The company was assisted through a State of Ohio International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) grant to develop an international marketing strategy, funded through SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). The company also made use of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Gold Key Service, which provides U.S. companies with matchmaking appointments with interested partners in a foreign market.
Through this service, administered through the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC), where officials of the Department of Commerce and SBA are co-located, EarthQuaker LLC met with potential partners in Australia. This resulted in a signed contract with an Australian firm and an opening order of $41,000.
Today, EarthQuaker Devices also has recent distribution partnerships with Yamaha Australia and Yamaha Asia. The company will also sponsor a week long, mid-May tour of Japan including legendary punk/metal crossover act Boris, Crypt City, Ohio’s Lisa Bella Donna, and Stillman’s band, Relaxer,. The tour will offer attendees an opportunity to play and purchase EarthQuaker products.
Stillman also holds a U.S. patent (Patent no: US9,.899.013BI, issued February 20, 2018) pertaining to an effects pedal implementing a switching mechanism between forward and reverse delay effects.