It’s been 20 years, but we’re just getting started!
The best businesses start in basements. Some people say it’s best to start in a garage, others in a tiny storefront in a small town, but at Spud Software, we’re all about the basements. After all, Spud was born in owner Derek Sommer’s basement, and now we’re not only celebrating 20 years in business, but also 20 years of helping our clients succeed in their own businesses.
While we continue to grow and strive for greater things, we are grateful for the community and clients who helped build Spud Software into what it is today. Here are some of the highlights from our first 20 years:
1997 – 2000: A dream became reality for Derek Sommer. This journey of a lifetime began with Spud’s first client, Arvin Industries which is now known as Meritor. Derek created PAC Manager in his first year of business, and the software is still in use today, running Spud’s day-to-day activities. In 1998, Derek moved the business to Northpark, where the network support and software development business flourished. A couple more moves took place over the next few years, and we landed two big clients, ACDelco and MSX.
2001 – 2004: These were years of growth for Spud Software. In 2001, we had 13 employees and many more clients. We moved again, back to the Northpark building and landed some of our largest clients, Chrysler and JCOM. JCOM still uses our custom software, “Big Spud Parser,” today. As the business continued to grow, Spud moved again in 2002, this time to the Baldwin Road office. Of course, this new building did have its limitations. Once, we had over 20 new computers delivered to the building for a client and everyone had to walk around them to get to their desks because computers in 2002 were huge compared to what we work on today. In 2003, the Spud Software Mobile Command Center was born. Due to some “customization” done by Derek, the van later caught fire and was never seen again. But Spud itself experienced another time of growth. In 2004, to accommodate the growth of not only our client base, but also our employees, Derek turned in his Harley Fatboy to put a deposit down on the purchase of a building on South Saginaw Rd, which remained Spud’s home until 2015.
2005 – 2009: Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club hired Spud to help with network support for the PGA’s Buick Open Invitational and a year later we were awarded the contract to extract data from thousands of dealerships throughout the US. Of course, back in 2007, the only way to do that was via modem (128 modems were needed), so we were happy to see high speed internet make its way into the dealerships. (The last modem was shut down in 2014!) Spud celebrated breaking $1M in annual sales in 2008, and in 2009, we put the infamous potato logo to rest and created Spud’s new branding.
2010 – 2013: Mobile App Development became a high priority in the software industry and Spud began creating mobile apps for several existing and new clients. During this time, we also began focusing more on custom software, which led to the decision to end the PC repair side of our business. Derek gave this portion of the business to a former employee and introduced the 4 D’s, which drive our business to this day: Define, Design, Develop and Deliver. We also broke the $4M in sales.
2014 – Present: We’ve always supported our local community, and in 2014 we expanded our outreach programs to support Lucky Day Animal Rescue, Feed the Children and Habitat for Humanity (to name a few). And as the business continued to expand, reaching $7M in sales, it was time, yet again, to find a new home for our team. So, working with local developers, Derek started construction on a new state-of-the-art office building right next door. During this time of growth we were also presented with the Better Business Bureau’s A+ rating and named one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch.
As we continue to grow, adding new team members and clients, we have come to appreciate our humble beginnings and the 200+ clients who have trusted Spud to help their businesses grow. But more than that, we attribute our success to all of the team members who share our core values of Honesty, Dedication, Passion and Resourcefulness. We’re excited to be celebrating 20 years in business and we look forward to what the next 20 years will hold for Spud Software and our clients.