Getting in the door
July 23, 2016
Storefront design and fabrication company wins KSBDC Exporting Business of Year
Elisa Waldman, director of the KSBDC, explained that the organization has presented Emerging Business and Existing Business awards, but yet another category – the third “E” in the bunch – was created to honor a Kansas business that has opened doors in the global marketplace.
How the business works
Custom Storefronts, Inc. provides storefront designs, fixtures and components for national and international retail companies, including Janie and Jack, Charming Charlie, Tory Burch and True Religion.
They craft their designs in wood, metal and glass from a new manufacturing facility in Olathe and have customers across the United States and abroad, including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Guam, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Panama, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
International brands and franchises turn to Custom Storefronts for consistent quality, delivered on time and on budget.
“Retailers come to us for their international projects because they are looking to provide their international partners with the same quality and products they are currently using for their domestic stores,” said Custom Storefronts President Jon Roberts. “It makes sense for them to utilize the same vendors from a time and cost standpoint.”
How it got started
Roberts and his wife Camille originally started Custom Storefronts due to the desire to provide a higher level of service than the corporate world offered and to gain the satisfaction of having customers who appreciated that high level.
Jon’s father taught him to do the best that he could, and Roberts developed a passion for hard work and doing things right. Ultimately, Roberts credits his employees with making Custom Storefronts the company that it is. “We are blessed with a company full of great employees who share our vision for quality,” he said.
Roberts has credited Johnson County Community College for helping him to find excellent employees. In 2002, Roberts took a computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) class at JCCC. He met Tom Hughes, professor and CADD chair.
“I have hired several people from JCCC,” said Roberts. “When I need a position filled, I contact Tom, and he is able to post the job openings for his students. It is a win-win relationship.”
How KSBDC helped
More recently, the Kansas Department of Commerce referred Custom Storefronts to KSBDC, also on the campus of Johnson County Community College.
John Addessi, KSBDC Consultant, initially visited with Roberts onsite to discuss various ways that the KSBDC program could help Custom Storefronts grow.
- Website analysis
- Market and competitor assessment
- Social media/ newsletters
- General growth strategies
- Employee hiring and retention.