Since Shawn T. Redd took over the company that today is known as the Redd/Lichee Corporation 20 years ago when he was still in high school, he has worked hard to achieve a certain goal: making needed goods and services available to the people of the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico. His work has been focused on helping those who have a great need for products and services acquire these things in the most effective way. To that end, he has worked tirelessly within the Navajo Nation to set up the best possible stores and businesses to serve the people of the area.
The company came under his ownership when he was a very young man. His mother had died when he was three, leaving him in the custody of his father who owned a car dealership. He grew up on that car lot, learning the secrets of business and more about sales than many young men three times his age. His skills were sharpened as well as his work ethic while he did odd jobs and listened to the sales people around him, noting what worked and what did not work.
It was not until high school, however, that Shawn Redd inherited a company that his mother had begun many years before. Named for his father and his mother’s tribal division, the Redd/Lichee Corporation ventured into its first business deal when the teenaged president, with help from family members, purchased land in Shiprock and was able to place a Napa Auto Parts store there.
The wild success of this business was due in part to the fact that the young man had chosen its location well. His mother had instilled in him a love of his native people, and he knew that members of the Navajo Nation had few stores available in their vicinity. One reason for this was the remote location of the tribe in northern New Mexico and Arizona, but another reason was the difficulty of dealing with the Navajo Nation and complying with all of their regulations as well as federal rules about businesses. However, the young entrepreneur was able to weather those problems and become successful in making the venture profitable. Navajo people, Hopi people and others came from miles around to shop at this store and were happy to have access to such good quality products so close to home, especially since many of them were used to traveling half a day to find certain items.
The store was so successful that the parent company asked the corporation to branch out and begin a second shop in Gallup, New Mexico. However, this time the outcome was not as good. Although local interest in and support of the store was high, the parent company ran into problems in procuring inventory and the store was closed. Eventually the problems permeated to the Arizona store which was later closed as well. The venture ended, once again denying the people of the area access to quality goods that they desperately needed.
However, Shawn T. Redd was not discouraged. The Navajo Nation, impressed with his performance in the auto parts business, encouraged him to build another business in the meantime. This time, he located Redd’s Laundry, a full-service laundromat, in the newly-completed Navajo Nation shopping complex that was drawing national attention. It was an inspired move. The complex was brand new and he had his pick of locations, and his business model for the laundry was impeccable. The model focused on clean facilities, friendly staff and, most importantly, provided a service to the people in the surrounding area that could not be matched anywhere else. Even though the cost of doing business in this location was extremely high and dealing with the Navajo Nation and the federal government was sometimes difficult, he was able to successful launch his laundry business and keep it operating. Today, with various other locations around the area, Redd’s Laundry has become an ionic symbol of the success one man can have when pursuing a dream with determination. The local people love the convenience of having a local laundry that serves all of their needs and they are especially happy at the high quality of service they receive from Redd’s.
However, despite Shawn Redd‘s success, there have been setbacks as well. Recently, he and his corporation entered into discussions involving the Navajo Nation and 3M. The huge corporation decided to venture into license plates as a sideline and discussed the possibility of making Navajo Nation plates. Funding was discussed and a business plan set out. However, due to conflicts within the council, the project was placed on hold. Although this project would be a good venture for many people concerned, it has been shelved for the time being. The corporation hopes that one day soon the interest will be revived and the business can move forward so that proud Navajo Nation members can show their pride with a personalized license plate.
Through the past 20 years, this man and his company have been intertwined with the Navajo people. Shawn Redd’s heritage and beliefs reflect the people he has been brought up to accept as his brothers and sisters. Through his mother’s legacy and influence, his company has focused on enriching the lives of the Navajo people and bringing them the convenience of quality goods and services where they need them most.
Today, the corporation continues its quest for profitable and useful business ventures that will benefit the Navajo Nation and make high-quality goods accessible to everyone who lives in the area. With this stance, the company is constantly exploring new projects and possibilities for improvement new products that can be sold and stores that can be opened, and new services that can be provided. RLC will continue to provide these goods and services in the years to come for a new generation of Navajo people to enjoy a more promising and brighter future.