MSI was founded in 1975 by the husband and wife team of Manu and Rika Shah who had emigrated from India just five years earlier with less than $1,000 in their pockets. The business started 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. Mr. Shah originally came to the United States to get 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 perfectly.
With the success of this project, Mr. Shah decided to pursue developing and growing MSI 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 1987, MSI realized that the market potential of natural stone for residential and commercial usage had the most potential. From this point onward, MSI redirected the efforts of the company towards developing this sector of the industry. In 1997, MSI embarked on their vision of becoming the first nationwide distributor of natural stone in the United States by opening a second location in Edison, New Jersey.
In 2003, both of Manu and Rika’s sons, Raj and Rup, left their careers in investment banking to join the family business. Over the next five years, MSI focused on opening 1-3 new distribution centers each year as well as dramatically broadening their product offering beyond just natural stone from India. By 2008, MSI was now among the top importers of natural stone in the world from virtually every major source country including India, Brazil, China, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Mexico.
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 continued its expansion of distribution centers. 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, Rajesh Shah and Rupesh Shah were appointed Co-Presidents of the company to lead the Company through the next phase of growth. Since 2012, not only has the Company maintained its leadership in natural stone, but it has also become the leader in the distribution of many manufactured hard surfacing products including porcelain and ceramic tile, quartz countertops, and glass mosaics. Additionally, the Company has continued to open many more distribution centers across the country in regions including Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Kansas, Minnesota, Northern Virginia, and North Hollywood.
Since its inception in 1975, MSI has grown its revenues organically every year. In 2015, MSI surpassed $750 million in annual revenues. MSI has very ambitious expansion plans for the future including opening additional branches across the United States and Canada as well as continuing to introduce new and innovative products across all major product lines.