Jody: Hello everybody. Welcome to the next episode of Made in Miami where we speak with entrepreneurs who are. Core to the Miami business scene. Jody Ann Johnson, and today I’m interviewing Stan.
Jody: So Stan, can you tell us a little bit about how and why you started this business, and what do you provide, what services?
Stan: How did I start the business. I was working for a manufacturer of furniture for the hospitality industry and that was the largest supplier in its day.
Stan: And the company was being sold, and when the company was sold, I was not comfortable with the new owners, and I decided to start the business, my own business, doing basically the same thing that I had been doing previously, manufacturing hospitality furniture for the hotel restaurant industry.
Jody: And I’ve heard the story that there was a key person who you had a relationship with who recommended that to you. Say a little bit about that.
Stan: The gentleman that owned the other company, that I worked for, that was sold, had recommended that, in order to do what I enjoy doing the best, that it would be better for me to start my own company than continue working for the old one.
Jody: So how many years ago was that?
Stan: That was 20 years ago.
Jody: 20 years ago. And you manufacture what?
Stan: We manufacture seating, case goods, furniture for hotels restaurants. Hospitality industry products.
Jody: So what’s your favorite project that you ever did?
Stan: My favorite project that I ever did was the Old Post Office in Washington D.C..
Jody: Tell us, what was your favorite thing about that project?
Stan: Well. It was beautiful furniture. It was great design by Hirsch Bedner which is one of the top design companies in the United States, and it was just a beautiful project.
Jody: Looking back, Stan, do you think that you were destined to be in this business?
Stan: I don’t know if you can say you were destined to be in the business. I think I was destined to be a business.
Jody: Yeah, to be an owner of a business.
Stan: I was destined to be a business.
Jody: Yeah. So what is it that you love about this business?
Stan: I love the versatility of working with people in all corners of the United States, actually, all corners of the globe. We manufacture some product in Europe. We manufacture some product in the Philippines and we make some product in Asia in Vietnam.
Jody: So that capacity to interact with lots of different people in many different parts of our country and the world.
Stan: Yeah. We have we have friendly relationships with with great people in the Philippines. And it’s nice to be able to go and visit the factory in the Philippines. We also have factories that we’ve worked with in the past that were in Thailand. We have factories that we work with in Vietnam. And it’s always a great experience to go work with those different people in the world.
Jody: What would you say is the biggest challenge of your industry?
Stan: Making a profit.
Jody: Of any industry!
Jody: Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of juggling, how do you stay focused?
Stan: I don’t necessarily think I do. You know they used to always say that if you have a little attention deficit that you’d make a good salesman.
Jody: And you’re a great salesman and of great business owner.
Jody: If you could start your business all over again, what would you do differently?
Jody: What have you learned?
Stan: Be fair and honest and you will succeed.
Jody: It’s funny that you say that because my dad always said that. My dad was a business owner and he said if you do the right thing you’re gonna be okay, just be fair, be honest and you’ll be okay. That’s good advice. Sounds like you might have heard that from maybe your mentors as well.
Jody: Alright, what are three words you would use to describe your organization.
Stan: Really great people.
Jody: Yeah. That’s it. Those are three words.
Stan: That’s what you asked…
Jody: That’s exactly what I asked! How long have you been in Miami?
Stan: Moved to Miami in 1976.
Jody: So a good while. What do you like about doing business here?
Stan: Diversity of people.
Jody: You know it’s funny that you said that because I think I’ve done a number of these and that always comes up. Can you say a little more?
Stan: I mean that’s what Miami is made up of a diversity of people, so you have a great workforce to draw from.
Jody: So what advice would you give to somebody who is starting a new business?
Stan: Put on your seat belt.
Jody: I’ve heard this, this is a recurring theme. So Stan, the best way for people to get in touch with you, if they want to learn more about what you do what your company provides, would be how?
Jody: And your e-mai?.
Jody: Well Stan, thank you for taking your time to talk with us about your business today.
Stan: Thank you.
Jody: And that wraps up this episode of Made in Miami. See you again soon.