It Started with Magazines in Michigan
In 1963 and with only $2,500 Mike Derderian set out to start his own company. His passion for business fueled by his entrepreneurial spirit had served him well and now it was time to take the next step. His sales ability first surfaced in his birthplace of Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 12, he began his journey of exceptional salesmanship by receiving awards for selling the most Saturday Evening Post magazines in the entire state of Michigan. He was well on his way to a bright future!
After serving in the United States Navy, Mike, called Mr. D by most, moved to Los Angeles and worked as a shoe clerk for the Zinkie Shoe Store chain. Because of his ability to increase sales, he was promoted at the age of 25 to general manager and then again to vice president of the entire chain of 57 stores and 160 employees.
His success and title proved not to be enough. To support his growing family, he was forced to take a night job. He soon became frustrated by the inadequate income and decided he wanted a job with pay based on straight commission, where his work ethic and sales ability would be rewarded.
Confident in his ability to sell, and knowing he could increase his income, he took a commissioned sales job with the Dictaphone Corporation. Again, Mr. D proved him self and was awarded the Top Salesman of the Year for four consecutive years. This accomplishment brought him two offers for promotion to district manager. Assured by the freedom to control his financial destiny and the desire to never work for a salary again, he refused both.
MD SALES AGENCY
It was at this time that Mr. D was introduced to the carpet industry. He took a sales position in 1959 with Wm. H. Green Company, a small distributor from Georgia. In 1963, his award winning sales ability landed him an offer with Purvis Wade Carpet Mills of Dalton, Georgia as their exclusive West Coast sales agent. With this opportunity, Mr. D quickly formed MD Sales Agency and hired three salespeople and four office employees. The sales agency, located in a 13,000 square foot warehouse in the City of Commerce, grew so quickly that the Georgia manufacturer could no longer meet the needs of his California clientele.
Mr. D’s entrepreneurial skill re-surfaced in 1969 with the decision to purchase a tufting machine and enter the manufacturing business. He moved his growing organization of 20 employees to a new 40,000 square foot building in the Dominguez Industrial Park in the city of Carson. His venture into carpet manufacturing began under the corporate name of Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc. Carpet sales in California, Arizona and Colorado quickly grew. Royalty had found a niche. They were able to satisfy the desires of the western consumer with an innovative, high quality product line, excellent service and dependability, all from a local manufacturer.
Expansion for Royalty came with the purchase of a fourth tufting machine. While on an afternoon drive, Mr. D discovered the city of Irvine where he immediately envisioned the next location for his booming business venture. In 1973, Mr. D moved his 33 employees to a 75,000 square foot building at 17353 Derian Avenue (a street named after him) in the new Irvine Industrial Complex.
With the acquisition of PacifiCrest Mills in 1992 and Camelot Carpet Mills in 1999, along with Mr. D’s decision to start importing ceramic and porcelain tile, the original 13,000 square feet has now grown to over 1 million square feet, spanning multiple locations in both California and Arizona. Included is a yarn processing plant in Porterville, California and a tile distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona.
All in the Family
It was during the acquisition of PacifiCrest Mills in 1992 that Mr. D realized the importance of succession within the organization. With that thought in mind, he brought his daughter, Andrea Greenleaf, into the business. Andrea’s background as a gemologist has proven to be an enormous asset to the company. Her skill with color plays a critical role in the development of both commercial and residential carpet styles. As President of PacifiCrest and Executive Vice President of the Royalty Corporation, the continuation of the company is on solid family ground.
No job or employee is unimportant to Mike or Andrea. Having performed every job imaginable from running the tufting machines to product development, from customer service to sales, and from mail clerk to billing clerk, they have tremendous respect for all of their employees and their contribution to the business’s success. Their fairness is substantiated by an open-door policy that allows employees to speak directly with either of them. As a result, there are numerous employees who have been with Royalty for over 25 years, with the majority having worked there for more than 10 years.
Royalty’s Success Continues
Royalty, under the leadership of Mike Derderian, has grown from a simple carpet mill with one tufting machine to one of the largest carpet manufacturers in the United States. What started as a small sales agency with seven employees is today recognized nationwide as Royalty Carpet Mills - manufacturer of distinctive carpets featuring superior quality, sophisticated styling and service that is unsurpassed.