E-commerce has put a beat down on traditional brick and mortar locations — but Joe Gammons isn't giving up the fight.
“Office furniture is still a touch and feel business,” says Gammons, president and owner of Fort Myers-based Office Furniture & Design Concepts.
So much so that Gammons is investing big in expansion. The company, with $18 million in sales in 2016, opened a Sarasota-Bradenton showroom in January, near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Lindsey Calvert, a Business Observer 40 under 40 winner in 2017 who has been with OFDC since 2014, moved to Sarasota last year to run the Sarasota-Bradenton market for the firm.
Gammons says the Sarasota-Bradenton market has long been underserved with a full-service office furniture company, a business like OFDC that considers a client's entire strategy, not just where to put desks and chairs. He believes OFDC can fill that void. “No one wants to drive to Tampa to look at a chair,” Gammons tells Coffee Talk.
The company's expansion to Sarasota-Bradenton includes the purchase of some assets of Bucko's, an office furniture company with roots in Sarasota dating back to 1959. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. (Boston-based Village Realty Trust acquired the Bucko's building, at 1923 Myrtle St., Sarasota, for $1.18 million in a deal that closed in January, according to a statement. That deal was separate from OFDC's purchase of Bucko's assets.)
Office Furniture & Design Concepts was founded in 1974. Gammons, who previously worked in politics and political fundraising in Michigan, took over the business in 2003, when he moved to Southwest Florida. Sales have more than doubled in that time, despite the recession that nearly crippled the business in 2008. “Bradenton-Sarasota and Fort Myers-Naples are almost identical,” in business demographics, says Gammons. “And I needed some geographic diversity.”