It was 1969 and John Koudsi had recently arrived in Los Angeles from his home in Hamburg, Germany. Nixon had just announced the withdrawal of 25,000 troops from Vietnam, legendary musicians from around the country gathered at Woodstock and Neil Amstrong became the first man to land on the moon. Opportunity abounded and using his fluency in seven languages, including German, John quickly landed a sales job with the Wurth Group.
An entrepreneur at heart, John had aspirations of running his own business. As he made sales calls around the West Coast, he began to develop relationships with dealers and suppliers-- specifically those that specialized in European vehicles. At the time, the Volkswagen Beetle was the number one import car on the road and John saw an opportunity. With all of these vehicles hitting the road in America, they were inevitably going to need parts. Who better to bring them in than someone who spoke the language, had established relationships in the industry and was a naturally-gifted salesperson?
In 1970, J. Kudsy & Co. was born. The company quickly became a formidable player in the sales of Volkswagen parts and grew into a full-line European parts distributor. By 1977, he had became the number one Bosch distributor in the country. After growing the business to around $26 million in revenue ($173 million in today's dollars), John sold his company. Parts were already a part of his makeup though, and it wasn’t long before he founded S&J Industries, Inc. in 1984.
S&J specialized in the import of genuine and OEM parts for European vehicles and selling them into dealerships around the country, much like its predecessor. As the company grew, S&J became a distributor for all the major European OEM brands and began to work with local garages and installers. In the 1990s, John’s zest for adventure and his enterprising spirit led him to Asia, where he began a robust export business that now services customers throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Europe.
In September of 2018, it was time for John to step down as CEO and he nominated his daughter, Suzanne Koudsi who had been managing operations and sales at S&J since 2004, to take the helm with her new partner Johnny Walker. Together, they are harnessing John’s pioneering spirit and ushering the company into the 21st century, expanding into new makes and models, looking ahead to the era of electric and autonomous vehicles and building a digital presence, all to meet the demands of an ever-evolving marketplace.