in 1975, M S International, Inc. (MSI) is a leading distributor of flooring, countertop,
wall, tile, and landscaping products in North America. Headquartered in Orange,
California, MSI also maintains 15 state-of-the-art distribution centers across the
United States and Canada. MSI’s product line includes
granite, slate, marble, travertine,
quartzite , onyx and other
natural stone products imported from 36 countries on six continents. MSI also maintains
overseas purchasing offices in India, Turkey, and Brazil. The company imports approximately
22,000 containers annually and maintains an inventory of approximately 50 million
square feet nationwide. The company employs over 750 people worldwide including
approximately 225 people at its headquarters in Orange, CA.
The husband and wife team of Manu and Rika Shah started the businesses in 1975 from
the basement of their home in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The original idea behind the business
was an opportunity for Mrs. Shah to work at home during her pregnancy and still
generate additional income for the family, who had emigrated from India just five
years earlier with less than $1,000 in their pockets. Mr. Shah originally came to
the United States to gets his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue
University, which he accomplished in 1968.
From 1974-1981, while they were getting MSI off the ground, Mr. Shah continued to
work full time as a mechanical engineer at International Harvester, a manufacturer
of trucks and farming equipment. During these years, while the natural stone industry
was in its infancy, he served as a broker selling blocks of granite to manufacturers
located in the United States, primarily in the monuments industry.
In 1981, while still operating the business out of the basement of their home in
Indiana, MSI secured the contract to supply the black granite for the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial in Washington D.C. With their entire savings invested into this project,
Mr. and Mrs. Shah spent endless nights making sure that the project was executed
With the success of this project, Mr. Shah decided to pursue the natural stone industry
full time. In 1984, Manu and Rika decided to move the company to Southern California,
driven by their vision that ultimately to succeed in distribution, a company must
be located in focal distribution points.
From 1984 to the present, MSI has continued to grow. Up until 1987, the business
primarily served as a distributor of granite for monuments and tombstones. In 2012,
Rajesh Shah and Rupesh Shah were appointed Co-Presidents of the company to lead
the company through the next phase of growth. MSI has very ambitious expansion plans
for the future including opening branches in Virginia and Kansas in 2013, and many
more additional branches are in the planning stages. Since then, MSI has redirected
the efforts of the company towards developing this sector of the natural stone industry.
In 1997, MSI embarked on a vision to become the sole nationwide distributor of natural
stone in the United States. In 2003, both of Manu and Rika’s sons, Raj and Rup,
left their careers in investment banking to join the family business. Since their
arrival into the company, MSI has opened thirteen distribution centers in the U.S.
and Canada and has amassed over 5,000 recurring customers in North America. Additionally,
during this time, MSI has dramatically expanded its product offering beyond just
natural stone from India. MSI is now among the top importers of natural stone in
the world from virtually every major source country. MSI imports from all parts
of the globe including India, Brazil, China, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Mexico and 29
other countries. Since its inception in 1975, MSI has grown its revenues organically
In 2007, Manu Shah was named Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur
of the Year" in the Distribution, Manufacturing and Security category. The
annual award recognizes those entrepreneurs who have demonstrated extraordinary
innovation, financial success, personal dedication and community involvement over
the course of the year.
From 2008, as the building material industry faced difficult times, MSI continued
to grow by focusing on new product development and geographical expansion. MSI introduced
porcelain, mosaics, and quartz to their product offering and opened additional branches
in Northern California, Baltimore, and Houston. The company continued to organically
grow its business during the very difficult years of 2008-2010. In 2011, MSI opened
it first distribution center outside the United States in Toronto, Canada. In 2012,
MSI continued its expansion by opening in Seattle, Washington.
In 2012, Rajesh Shah and Rupesh Shah were appointed Co-Presidents of the company
to lead the company through the next phase of growth. MSI has very ambitious expansion
plans for the future including opening branches in Virginia and Kansas in 2013,
and many more additional branches are in the planning stages.