Where Were You Born And Raised?
I was born in New Jersey, but I was raised in Georgia. I grew up in and around Roswell and Alpharetta. I have watched the majority of this city be built around me over the years.
What Brought You Here To Alpharetta?
My dad was transferred down here in 1983-84. I was two or three years old at the time. He was part of one of the largest office supply companies in the country, but eventually he got laid off. He started his own little business, an office furniture company he called The Outlet. “Roswell Office Furniture Outlet” formed in 1988. He started that company by buying used, scratched and dented tractor trailers and also loads of office furniture from the company that laid him off. It started as a 2,000 square foot warehouse and, over 23 years, he grew in every way. Eventually he advanced into a 12,000 square foot building. I was living in Colorado but decided to come back and eventually take over the business.
I changed a lot about the business throughout the years. We changed our business to cater to business people searching for office furniture online. This helped our business dramatically. When the 2008 recession arrived, and I had to sell our building which was a major hit for my dad. We weathered the storm from 2008 to 2011 in a smaller space and then I took ownership of the company in 2013. In 2015, I rebranded the company to Envision Office Solutions.
Did You Grow Up In The Office Furniture Business?
Yes, I was working for my dad delivering furniture since I was 14. I’d never had an allowance, so working for my Dad was my version of an allowance.
I love what I do. I don’t have anybody to answer to. I don’t say “no” very often and do a wide variety of services. Whether it’s furniture related, space planning or knocking down walls for clients. I don’t sell used furniture because you need space and have to hold onto inventory. That’s more overhead that I don’t want. As a result, I save on overhead and get to pass those savings on to my clients.
Do You Also Design Office Spaces?
I have been getting into space planning this year. So, if somebody’s building, buying or leasing an office and there’s nothing in it, we go through what I like to call the ‘envision process.’ The reason I coined my company name is because you typically envision something before you design it.
When I’m out at a client meeting and they say, “This is what I envisioned for my space as,” that’s a good sign because they’re using my company’s name to describe something that they want to do. Then they buy furniture from me. So hopefully I got them on the hook for that matter.
I’ve had two project planning and space planning projects that I’ve done so far. One was a 12,000 square foot building and one which was knocking a wall down at the bank right here at Milton. I coordinate the construction, much like a general contractor. I just run all the communication through me so they don’t have to talk to all these different companies.
So You Don’t Keep Any Inventory? How Do You Sell Furniture?
I don’t keep any inventory. I order all my stuff new from manufacturers. Not having the overhead of a storage facility in a warehouse or showroom gives me the flexibility to go to my clients and see what they have currently and then bring products to them that would compliment or essentially buy out the whole new office. But no, I actually closed my space down two years ago and it was the best thing I ever did for my company. The savings I have from that big overhead in a building goes back into my client’s pockets.
What Type Of Business Do You Like The Most?
I’m 38, but most of the people in my industry are at least 10 or 15 years older. So I like to do a lot with coworking spaces. Like Thrive or Roam in downtown Alpharetta. I’ve done some stuff with both of them. I joined for a few months just to kind of meet the people that are in or around those communities because most likely the people that are starting those communities are eventually going to grow and will need an office. So if I’m in front of them while they’re still growing their company, then they remember, “Oh, there’s that Casey Envision Office guy. He can help me out when I’m ready to buy a space.”
That’s just kind of my niche. I kind of linger around coworking spaces. I believe there’s 2 million square feet of commercial office under construction right now in Alpharetta. So if I get a quarter million of that 200 million square feet, I’m okay.
Are You Just Focusing On Business In Alpharetta?
I just got a client in Athens that I went to because he has a business relationship here with somebody that I do business with already. But for the most part it is in Alpharetta.
What Else Would You Say Is Different Or Unique About Your Business?
I sell a lot of the same stuff as some of the big box companies around town. Office furniture is office furniture, so it’s kind of hard to be different. There’s different lines, finishes, shapes etc. My niche is just getting out in front of people quickly. If I can go out and shake hands versus sending emails, I’m going to do that.
I do golf networking with the Alpharetta Chamber and clay shoot on Saturday. If I invite them to come hang out with me, the relationship is established right there with other business individuals, and typically 9 times out of 10, if I can get that relationship established, I’m going to get business at some point. Whether it’s the immediate future or months down the road.
Going Back, Did You Always See Yourself Doing This? Was This Always Your Path?
No, I grew up with it since my Dad started the company. I was a teenager, and it was just my summer job. I played soccer which I thought was going to take me somewhere but it never did. I ended up going to Colorado for a few years. I worked on the slopes for a little while and bounced around a bit. I worked at a car dealership, went to a community college, but didn’t like it. I even had aspirations of becoming a Navy Seal but that didn’t pan out either. After three years in Colorado, I kind of sat my Dad down and got involved in the business. Now that it’s fully my business and I’ve taken over it feels right. If I keep it going for another 20 years, then it’s great because I don’t have to work for anyone else. That’s why I like it so much. My wife has a great job and we just had a baby boy, so the freedom is fantastic.
Where Do You See This Business In 5 Years?
That’s a good question. I don’t do a lot of projections or business planning. I’ve started transitioning into more project management versus commercial sales, which opens the door more for my business. I don’t know if I want to hire any employees down the road because, in my opinion, the growth brings in more issues. I’ve had employees within my company in the past, and it didn’t work out the way it should have. Also, everything I sell I can also build. So it’s not like I sell the furniture, and the relationship is over. I follow up, do repairs, and whenever they need something going forward, they’re going to call me.
Do You Have Established Relationships With The Contractors You Work With?
Yes, I have unofficial partnerships. The guys that do my installs are the same guys every time. I have nothing but high praise for those guys and you can call my clients and they’re like, “These guys are phenomenal.” When it comes to construction companies, it just depends on who’s the bidder. There’s definitely good local construction companies that I work with. I send out the same IT guy to my customers all the time.
So Is Your Dad Still Around? Is He Still Involved In The Business At All?
He’s around. He drives my company van, so I call him my mobile marketer because I have my logo on it and he drives all over town. He’s kind of retired, but not really. It’s his car, but I pay for it. It’s my $600 a month marketing plan. It’s probably the nicest car he’s had because it’s a Mercedes Sprinter van. One of those big FedEx ones.
Do You Ever Get Business From The Van?
That’s one of the things I’d probably lack in is tracking sales. My CRM is in my brain or my email. Like if I replied to you, your email goes away until you get back to me in most cases. And if it’s urgent and they need a response quickly, they usually call me or will get back to me right away.
What Do You Do For Fun?
I golf at least once a week. My wife and I just had our first boy, so spare time is pretty much him right now. We are also guardians of our niece, my wife’s sister’s 10-year-old daughter for four years. She lives with us full time. Other than that, we like to do anything active. My wife and I actually met at crossfit fitness. I still play soccer and snowboard and go hiking when I can. I’ve gone wakeboarding, hunting with clients, and I do love doing stuff around the community. I’m a member of the rotary club and Alpharetta Chamber. In February, I led a fundraiser for the Public Safety Foundation. It was a first-time event called “Polar Bear Plunge.” We raised $30,000 and about 45 people jumped in the water during Winter. We’re doing it again on February 8th, 2020.
What Are Some Things That You Love About Alpharetta?
I like the growth. Now that I have a family and a little one, we enjoy Avalon and walking in the market on Saturday mornings. There’s tons of people out walking around on the weekends. There are always activities, food trucks in the summer. It’s great for kids and older people. Everybody in the city is doing phenomenal.
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