History

(An excerpt from PlanoProfile.com - http://www.planoprofile.com/planoprofile/content/features/wibtop3.asp)

A young couple in love…a body shop…the ’60s…sounds like the makings for a hit movie. Fast forward 20 years, and Elizabeth Ezelle and her husband Jerry have come a long way since their greased-lightning days working in a body shop.

Incorporated in May of 1986, USA Datafax, Inc., began as a service provider for fax machines but has grown to include digital copiers, printers, and shredders. The company is celebrating a silver anniversary this month.

Who inspired Elizabeth and Jerry to start their own business? “Well, the truth is we were both crazy enough to do it,” says Elizabeth with a hearty laugh and charming East Texas accent. “Most people would have said, ‘You’ve got two kids in high school. Are you sure you want to do this now?’ But we did, just like that.”

USA Datafax employs a friendly staff of 15, mostly women, and Elizabeth calls them family. “They’ve been with us for so long. We’ve been very fortunate for that. Dixie, for instance…One day, I dropped my clothes off at the cleaners and I noticed that the lady behind the desk was so efficient and I knew she couldn’t be making much money. I asked her, ‘Have you ever thought about changing jobs?’ And she says, ‘Oh, yeah.’ And I said, ‘Would you like to double your salary?’ She said, ‘Yes, ma’am!’ Well, I had to change cleaners because the owner got so upset with me! Dixie’s been with us ever since—20 years.”

Employee retention rate is, no doubt, testimony of a good, strong company. When employees believe in their company, customers will reciprocate that loyalty. USA Datafax boasts a strong customer support base, including AT&T, Verizon, Orthofix, Dallas Market Cener, Taco Bueno, and JDA Software Group.

Elizabeth emphasized that customer support has kept her in business all these years. “We’ve made a niche with huge corporations. If someone from AT&T calls, whatever they need, we can do it just like that [she snaps her fingers], because we make the decisions here, and we have contractors all over the country.”

While major accounts have bolstered their company, Elizabeth notes that small businesses are just as vital to USA Datafax’s success. “We are so fortunate to have all the customers that we have,” she says.

“I would add, even though technology has changed a lot since the fax days, we’ve tried to be flexible and change with the needs of our customers. Those are the key ingredients for a successful business: loyal employees, customer support, and flexibility.”

Elizabeth admits that every company has its ups and downs, but time has taught her that there’s always a silver lining—retirement! “From the beginning to this day, owning a business has been a roller coaster. When Jerry and I married, I was 18 and he was 20; we were kids. We didn’t have enough sense to think that our business, the body shop, could fall apart! We just went with the flow,” she recalls. “It’s been a fun, fun journey and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”