Anibal Martinez officially opened the doors of The A.M. Contemporary Furnishings in Buena Park on May 6 with the help of the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center. But how did he get to this place?
By nature, Anibal has always been a tinkerer. While working as a design engineer at an optics company, he was granted access to a workshop, allowing him to use the space for his personal projects. There, Anibal designed and built a bookcase, his first-ever handmade furniture piece. His friends and family encouraged him to continue making furniture and selling it. While COVID-19 slowed down many small businesses, Anibal decided to begin pursuing his small business idea.
Anibal had begun researching the steps to open a woodworking shop and was confident he could do it on his own, however, his wife encouraged him to seek out professional advice. Through his search for business plans online, he came across the Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “I set up a meeting, not knowing what to expect, but I’m glad I did,” Anibal recalled.
Then began his journey with business consultant Ace Tarakchian, from the CSUF SBDC. Anibal admitted that he found there was a lot about business planning that he didn’t understand. “Working with the SBDC, I was able to write up a projection sheet for several startup scenarios and make the best decision based on those projections,” he recounted. He also received access to valuable market research reports to have a solid understanding of the woodworking and furniture industry.
Ace helped Anibal make sure he would be profitable and be able to obtain an SBA loan of $50,000. Yet, the best part about working with Ace was having “someone steering me in the right direction and building my understanding,” he remarked.
“Yesim Erez, my marketing consultant, was also great in guiding me on how to set up and format a website and design a logo. These were things I hadn’t really considered until the consultants pointed them out,” he admitted.
New business owner Anibal tells us, “When I take a step back and look at all I accomplished, the website, the shop, and my products, I doubt I would have accomplished much without the SBDC’s great support.”
Do you have something special in mind? Take your furniture idea to The A.M. Contemporary Furnishings where you’ll be able to customize an existing product or propose a unique build. If it’s going to be made of wood, you’ll want it made by the A.M. so visit their website to make an appointment and learn more!