Michael Stewart was raised in Eolia, Missouri, about 80 miles north of St. Louis. His mother worked in a garment factory and his father worked as laborer on a local farm. With a population of 306, the town was small by most standards. His family home had electricity but no running water. Eolia had only three businesses at the time; a grocery store, fur trader and hardware store. “I grew up in a town that had only one street light and one pop machine. Fifty percent of our family’s food was either caught, shot or grown ourselves,” remembers Stewart.
Michael was a good student and an accomplished athlete, primarily competing in basketball and track. He was elected student council president for his class at Clopton High School. The area was so rural that students traveled in from 10-15 nearby towns to attend the school. Being raised as African American in a primarily white part of Missouri, he remembers that everyone in the school treated each other with respect. After his family relocated his junior year, he graduated from University City High School near St. Louis. After a short time at University of Missouri St. Louis, Stewart enrolled at Drake University, where he earned Bachelor’s in Business Administration his major was in Retail Management and minor was Economics.
In 1976, Michael graduated college and accepted his first corporate position as Assistant Buyer with Target headquarters in Minneapolis. The Target CEO was also a Drake alum and became a mentor to Michael. Through the years, Stewart worked his way up to Buyer and then relocated to Huntington Beach, CA. as Sr. Hardware Buyer. He went on to numerous other high level corporate level positions with Builder’s Emporium, True Temper Hardware, Werner Ladder and Sunrise Packaging. Over the years, Michael says he clocked over 4 million air miles with the airlines; a testament to his frequent travel and previous hectic lifestyle.
In 2006, Stewart and his wife were ready for a change. Out of five possible cities, they chose Portland as their future home. “We love the small city metropolitan element with greenery, bridges and most importantly….no bugs!” joked Stewart. Michael established his own business, Stewart Marketing Group, and began to build an advertising specialty sales distributorship. The company specializes in branded apparel, tradeshow products and office supplies.
Stewart Marketing joined OAME in 2008. “The OAME network is incredible for finding opportunities. I really look up to Sam. He functions with the same life principals I do. Don’t complicate things and treat everyone the same. If the world would just take an example from Sam Brooks, we would all be doing the right thing,” stated Stewart.
Currently the company has five independent sales reps and business is going well.
For more about Stewart Marketing Group, call 503.270.7857 or visit: http://stewartmarketinggroup.com/
This article originally appeared in OAME’s March 2015 Monthly Newsletter. If you would like to be added to our Mailing List, email email@example.com
-written by Matt Rutter
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