Origin Story

The following bold-faced terms shall have the meanings set forth below:



"Boss", shall mean my father Julius.


"His Wife", shall mean my mother Christie.






Boss founded the original Ko's Trading in 1988 at the age of 20 and carried it on his back well into the 90's. It started in a 70 sq.ft stall in a "not so safe" area of Central Philippines. The primary activity was wholesale and distribution of grocery goods such as rice, salt, canned goods, noodles and soy sauce. Nearly a decade after its inception, Boss expanded into manufacturing and retail outlets which would distribute his private label goods.

Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned and in the Spring of 2001, Boss flew to America with his wife in hopes of a better future for his family. With only $600 in cash, they moved around the East Coast looking for stable employment. The pair eventually found themselves working for a fine businessman named TJ in Virginia, USA.

In the same year, TJ relocated to Arizona (out of all places) for work reasons. Phoenix, being the capital of Arizona, was named after an ancient, mythical creature that symbolized a rebirthing of oneself. The Phoenix bird rises from the ashes of its former body and is rejuvenated. Unbeknown to Boss, this move to Phoenix would be the opportunity for financial recovery which, in hindsight, is pretty ironic. However, that would only be the beginning of a grueling journey to restoration.

Let's fast forward to 2013. The "American Dream" is now seemingly impossible to grasp after 12 laborious years. In his last endeavor to find a stable source of income before quitting life in America, Boss decided to realign with his entrepreneurial identity again. He bargained with his wife to set aside $300 (out of ~ $1200 total cash in bank) of grocery money as capital to purchase a few used items at an auction. One of the first items he bought was a garbage disposal that cost him less than $12.00 but retailed for $65.00 at a local store. After refurbishing the item, someone happily paid $30.00 for it, making us a little profit and changing the course of our lives forever.

After a year of reselling auctioned items, Boss decided to open a storefront (2014) that would sell secondary products from a major home improvement retailer. Business grew steadily over the years as customers found value in our existence. As of 2022, our business is still doing well and occupies nearly 90,000 sq.ft. of total warehouse space.

Circa 2022, I felt compelled to pick up where my Boss left off twenty years prior. So I created Ko's Trading, LLC to extend our reach beyond retail customers. I believe that by utilizing our industry experience and network of global suppliers, we'll continue to provide tremendous value to the Phoenix market for years to come.

My aim is to continuously increase my value proposition to others in spite of challenges and to exhibit a fortitude akin to my Boss.


Joe Ko

Founder & Owner

Ko's Trading, LLC

Phoenix, Arizona USA



Early '90s version of Ko's Trading in central Philippines.




How Did Your Current Business Actually Start?


Beginning Stages

I had just graduated High School in May of 2013 when Boss began to buy items at the auction. The original plan was to sell everything we had leftover and move back to the Philippines for good. Other family members had already done so by this time and it was genuinely a very confusing period, sort of like the few days after a male dog gets neutered (a sprinkle of anxiety, sadness, and confusion).

Nothing was working for us in America. We could not afford to pay rent for our home anymore (my younger brother and I stayed at our older brother's home in the photo while my parents and our youngest brother slept at another location). We could not afford to pay out of state tuition for me to attend college and our total cash was just a little over $1,000 for five individuals to share.

Luckily, we were able to gain traction and sell products consistently. This image was captured by Google's Street View vehicle as I was loading a push mower for a customer. You bet I was refreshing Google Maps everyday to save this picture 😊.

"One man's trash, is another man's treasure" as they say.


2014: Our First Commercial Space ~ 3,000 sq.ft.


2015: Moved to ~ 11,000 sq.ft space.


2015: Moved again to ~ 18,000 sq.ft. and stayed until 2019.


... give me some time to update 2020 - 2023 photos. i'm busy