Atul Vir in Dealerscope 2022 Hall of Fame

LAS VEGAS: The Dealerscope 2022 Hall of Fame honors five leaders who have consistently excelled throughout their illustrious careers in the appliance, consumer technology, and retail sectors. Among the winners is Atul Vir, Founder and President Equator Advanced Appliances, based in Houston.

Atul Vir isn’t just an executive; he’s also a founder, inventor, and author. The CEO of Equator Advanced Appliances holds 18 different patents in appliance technology, and in addition to his success, he’s been widely cited as an expert and thought leader on business ethics.

It all began with his idea of selling all-in-one washer/dryers to the North American market. Though Equator started as an import/export company, it has now grown into a massive appliance firm that sells its products, in many categories, in North America as well as in Europe and Asia.
Vir is the author of the 2020 book Underdog Thinking: A Bold Idea, a Business Adventure and 101 Lessons Learned Along the way.

Vir explained how he got his start in the appliance business: I was a new immigrant to the U.S. and was looking for new opportunities, so I decided to get into business for myself. I started Equator because I had experience working for an international company that operated in Europe and Africa. I started dabbling in various imports and exports, and about a year later, came up with the idea of a combo washer-dryer.

The idea came to me one day at home. We were living in an apartment, and my wife was spending every Sunday doing the laundry, going to the coin-op machine, putting clothes in and coming back, then 45 minutes later transferring to the dryer and coming back, and then going back again to pick up the clothes. It seemed like a real chore. I remembered we had used a combo washer-dryer in England when we were there. I discovered that there were no combination washer/dryers here in the U.S. and decided to explore the idea. I went back to Europe and found a company from Italy that would make it for us. And that started this long quest. I cashed out my credit cards to buy the first container, and brought it in, and started selling them one by one.

And you know, I just grew it from there, until the business expanded and after a few years, it became a full-fledged appliance company, and that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 30 years. Equator has expanded from the early lines of laundry, refrigeration, dishwashers and cooking to a whole bunch of other products like wine coolers, floor care and climate control. With the pandemic, we have expanded into Health/Wellness and Outdoor appliances. — Tom Samiljan, Stephan Silver, Dealerscope