Saudi Connection

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Wichita companies do business in Saudi Arabia, whether it's selling business jets or trading in oil.

Some local companies work through representatives in Riyadh, while others occasionally travel there.

Jim Mattingly, with International Waters LLS says he's been to Riyadh, Saudia Arabia about ten times on business trips. Recently he's been doing more of the family business on the Internet.

Mattingly says, "Our primary business used to be export to the Middle East. Our primary business now is more going to the Internet sales."

The Mattinglys sell swimming pool equipment all over the world, from filters to pumps to diving boards.

You wouldn't think by looking at it that the store on East Central did such international trade, but it does.

Mattingly says, "We probably do about 60% of our international business in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE."

His Saudi connections include dealings with the bin Laden family, but not with Osama bin Laden.

Mattingly says, "Saudi is the biggest market because it's got so many more people and bigger cities."

It's also a very wealthy country, he says. But it's a country that from time to time has been a venue for terrorists to strike out against Americans living there.

Matt Mattingly says, "We haven't been back in a couple of years. It's an expensive trip and I think traveling in that part of the world, it's wise.. I just don't feel comfortable going over there right now."

Matt Mattingly says they were in Riyadh doing business only months after the Kobar bombing a few years ago.

Mattingly says, "Once you're there you're very safe. These bombings are a rare instance over there."

And though he says travelers should be careful, he quickly adds that he wouldn't let an incident like the bombing in Riyadh keep him from going there, because that would be giving in to the terrorists.

Matt Mattingly says he's probably traveled more this year than most. Jim Mattingly says he would probably let things calm down before traveling there again. Otherwise, he says he's never been threatened in his ten or so times of going to Riyadh.


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