In 1974 Indian native Pethinaidu Veluchamy began selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door while taking graduate courses at the University of Illinois, Chicago. As the enterprise became increasingly profitable, Veluchamy left his program, hired sales associates, and rented an office space in suburban Downers Grove where his company could solicit magazine subscriptions by mail. By the late 1970s, Veluchamy began to acquire other Chicago-area direct mailing companies as well as commercial and industrial real estate. By the late 1980s, Veluchamy Enterprises, as it became known, had developed a vertically integrated direct marketing operation that included nine individual companies specializing in printing, data entry, automated mailing services, embossing, gift cards, and the encoding of credit and ATM cards. At that time it employed nearly 1,000 people around Chicago and had sales of about $60 million. In 1995, the company purchased the single branch of Security Bank. By the early 2000s, Veluchamy Enterprises owned and leased over two million square feet of retail and industrial real-estate space, including the building that housed the former Michael Jordan's Restaurant downtown. It owned two banks with eight branches by that time. Still headquartered in Downers Grove, it owned nearly a dozen direct marketing businesses in the Chicago area, and one each in New Jersey and India. With 1,500 Chicago-area employees, 1,500 more worldwide, and over $200 million in annual reven ues, this family-owned and -operated company was one of Chicago's largest minority-owned firms.
The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago © 2005 Chicago Historical Society.
The Encyclopedia of Chicago © 2004 The Newberry Library. All Rights Reserved. Portions are copyrighted by other institutions and individuals. Additional information on copyright and permissions.