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Our History

Dutch American Import Co., Inc. was founded by Gerrit and Gerda Schep as a proprietorship in 1958.

The Scheps and their four children immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands on December 13, 1956. Gerrit Schep had dreamed about immigrating to the United States since he was a small boy on the farm in Willege Langerak, Holland. His mother had family who immigrated to the Dutch settlement of Pella, Iowa in the early 1900's. His fascination with this faraway land grew through their letters home.

At the time of their immigration, Mr. Schep was employed as Sales Representative for a jewelry wholesaler based in Schoonhoven, Holland for eight years. Prior to that he was in the retail grocery business for seventeen years working his way up from box boy to store manager. Mrs. Schep was a homemaker, but before starting their family, she had worked as an assistant to the president of the largest silver flatware and hollowware factory in Holland.

The First Methodist Church of Pasadena, California sponsored the family's immigration to the United States. The church membership provided a house completely stocked with food immediately upon their arrival.

Mr. Schep had a job waiting for him at the California Institute of Technology as a custodian. Although this job was not his life's goal it did provide a foundation for his family.

The Scheps always wanted to start their own company and their immigration to the U.S. would provide that opportunity. They brought with them several samples of silver gifts and souvenirs produced by the various silver factories of Schoonhoven, Holland. Mr. Schep worked at Cal-Tech from 5am to 1pm Monday through Friday and worked on building Dutch American Import in the afternoons and on weekends. He worked the road trying to find a market for these items and Mrs. Schep communicated with the manufacturers in Holland.

The very first item he sold was a custom designed collectable souvenir spoon for Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. From that humble beginning, and as theme parks were developing in southern California, he was able to expand his market of custom designed silver collectibles.

We continue to provide our products to theme parks, zoos, aquariums as well as smaller shops in resort locations throughout the United States. We also sell many of the nation’s National Park concessionaires and airport gift shop operators such as HMS Host.

After developing a market for collectible souvenirs the Scheps were getting inquiries for Holland's famous ceramic handicraft popularly know as Delft Blue. Delftware was first made in the Netherlands during the 17th century. The pottery was influenced by Oriental porcelain imported to Holland during that era by the Dutch East-West Indies trading company. They began importing Delft Blue in the early 1960’s, but have since sold this part of the business to Nelis Imports in Holland, Michigan. You may contact them at (800) 968-8077.

Dutch American Import Co. incorporated in 1972 shortly after their son, Jacob G.C. Schep, joined the firm. After attending the University of Oregon for 3 years, Jake became active in the family business. In order to provide for the additional salary this change created, the business had to grow. Prior to that the Scheps operated the business on a regional basis-the pacific Coast states.

We currently sell to customers in all 50 states and offer an extensive selection of open-stock designs for each state. We market our product thru manufacturer’s reps, direct mail, trade shows, telephone, email and company representatives.

Our current management team is made up of Jake Schep as President, Marshall Lundgren as Vice-President, Gerda Dynice as Corporate Secretary and Office Manager. They each have more than 35 years’ experience with the firm. Our Warehouse Manager is Tony Candella, who has also been with the firm for more than 30 years. As high quality souvenirs are a tradition with us, every order is backed by our guarantee of prompt delivery and superior service. We welcome the opportunity to supply your store with quality souvenirs.