"The financing solution we arrived at with the SBDC’s help is a great alternative and will help save thousands per year.”
Secret to Success:
“It takes a quality product, solid business practices and financing, but most of all, it takes an awful lot of determination.”
In 2008, after several years working in the custom furniture industry, Aaron W. Carter began to explore starting his own business. Carter had a reputation for his exceptional workmanship and relationships with high-end interior designers. This helped secure his first potential orders. However, he needed a location and financing to get the venture off the ground. So he contacted the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Snow College. The SBDC assisted with business planning, projections and loan packaging. However, the funding process was not as quick as desired. Like many entrepreneurs, Carter pushed forward with investment funds from himself and others who could see the opportunity, and A. W. Carter Fine Furniture was born.
One of Carter’s first customers was a high-end apartment in Paris, France, and another was the Monte L. Bean Museum at Brigham Young University. Carter’s exquisite, hand-crafted furniture, made of the finest wood, with detailed hand-carved decorative accents is of such beauty that it often leaves customers in absolute awe. The company’s largest customer is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is known to be among the most quality-selective buyers. This is particularly true regarding construction and furniture for their iconic and ornate temples in which many pieces of Carter’s furniture can be found today.
Carter has wisely partnered with a seasoned business mentor, Gary Ramos, who has helped the company address many challenges. Ramos’ extensive background in business, combined with Carter’s passion and talent have helped the company grow. Today, pieces of A.W. Carter Fine Furniture may be found in many countries around the world from France and Italy, to Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and of course throughout the United States.
In 2014, recognizing the need for expansion, the company identified a nearby building which could fill their need. They again contacted the SBDC for assistance to identify several approaches for financing. The needed financing was successfully secured, which included funds from the Rural Fast Track program from Utah’s Governor’s Office of Economic Development. They have since moved forward with their expansion plans, including the recent hiring of three new employees. The company is currently working with the SBDC on strategic market research and anticipates expanding into work they have not previously done, which may well spin off additional work for other Utah-based companies.