I started American DP Inc. part time back in 1983 from remnants of an inactive company that originated in ’69. With the purchase of “original” decals, patches and the correspondence files with these companies, I began sending out mailings, rebuilding connections and using the old data base to help guide my many phone calls. This was an exciting time for me as I loved a new challenge! I also loved cars and talking to the people in the industry. Today, many of those original companies are still with us!
The first 6 months of ownership had been a bit slow, (remember no internet, NO ebay, facebook or craigslist) with just my wife and I filling orders. Then a big break came when Petersen Publishing’s “Car Craft” magazine ran a great press release about our racing decals. That is when this little company began to take off! Now, the whole family got involved filling orders, cutting & counting decals, packaging and more. Even the grandchildren grew up on site and many times used racing decals for their school projects.
Our growth continued each year and soon I was working at this full time. Our product line had expanded to t-shirts, baseball caps, hat pins, sun shades and other related items in our now full color, 32 page, catalog. We added a large addition to our property for this growing business. The offering of “3 Free Decals” with every $1 catalog you purchased, was continued through-out the years as it ran monthly in every major race car magazine publications available. You always got that famous “Buck Off” coupon in return. Things began to really take off not just in the U.S. but globally as well!
During the early 90’s, Ruthie and I wanted to relocate to a warmer climate and enjoy a bit of semi-retirement. So we made a decision to downsize our business and get back to selling just decals and patches. Then, with our company in tow, we moved to beautiful Arkansas. As we were enjoying our semi-retirement with American DP, we began to dabble a bit on the internet which was becoming very popular. (I was a computer “geek” programmer in my younger days so this was a fun new hobby to get into.)
In 2002, we took the plunge and began our sales over the net. I was amazed at the response of people who had never heard of us before. The new growth was fast, furious and quite exciting once again! We began to bring in over 250 NEW racing decals & patches, continue to make constant improvements with the use of the internet, and then began working with EBay and Paypal. This is also when we came out with our first web catalog. “Auctions” on Ebay were my newest passion. But during all of this time, I still wanted to keep my main focus of selling to you. . . Only Official – Authentic – Original – Licensed – Racing Decals and Patches! This is for the local guys/gals who race at their home town tracks. I continue to bring you items straight from the named manufacture and never a re-production.
After almost 20 years in Arkansas, Ruthie and I decided again to move. This time back “home” to Illinois and be closer to the family. Our company was doing just great for 2 semi-retired folks and this move would be much easier now that everything was done with my computer and the internet. In January of 2012, with only one week shut down, we relocated back to Illinois were it had all began . . . . . . . Thomas P White
Just shortly after settling in back “home”, our dad, PaPa Tom, was diagnosed with cancer. Then one evening in 2012, just after his beloved Chicago Cubs completed an evening game, he quietly passed away. His last months were full of family and love and he continued to operate the business as usual until the end.
Our family has not skipped a beat and have pulled together to help our mom Ruthie continue on. The now adult grandchildren are also working here bringing their babies as little helpers!
If there are any automotive related decals or patches you want us to try and find, just let us know and maybe we can get those in and carry them in this new web site catalog.
Thanks again for all of your support over the past 30 years,
Ruth M White and Family
An excerpt from a blog that Tom posted back in 2002. . . .
“We get an awful lot of people asking us, “Why don’t you have XXX company’s decals, it’s free advertising for them?”. That’s right, by virtue of the fact that we purchase decals in large quantities, and the fact that 99% of our consumers will display the decals, then why don’t they let us buy their decals. The following are just a few reasons why; A.) Some companies are so big that when we write or call them we either don’t get any response back or the person we are talking to doesn’t know who to pass our request on to. B.) Some of the companies don’t want their decals to be sold, for whatever reason, we don’t know. C.) Some of the companies don’t think that this helps them. Our answer to that is, if only 100 of their decals are displayed at local tracks that have a yearly attendance of only 50,000 people, a total of 5 million people would have seen their decals. And of course, many of the company’s that we do carry, we distribute tens of thousands of their decals each year. We get a lot of requests for decals we don’t carry, but we just keep on trying to bring in what you, the customers, want. Any help you can give us on this would be appreciated.”
“One more note before I shut up. A lot of people ask us to carry different company patches. Well a lot of companies, both big & small don’t have patches made or don’t have enough made to supply us, they have only enough for their own usage. Or they don’t have patches allowed to be made but rather have the logos embroidered directly on garments that they might sell, or give licenses to sell. Case in point is Chevrolet, they have not given anyone the license to make and sell a patch. You have to by a cap or shirt with their logo already embroidered on the garment. We try like heck to get in new patches all the time, and if you know of any companies that do offer them, please let us know and we’ll try to get them in for you.”