Feature Client: Alteriors – Part 2: Interview

Feature Client: Alteriors – Part 2: Interview

We just had the pleasure of completing our interview with Monika Durczak and Jacob Visutskie, owners of Alteriors Contemporary Furniture Inc. This may be our most up-close and in-depth interview to date, as Monika and Jacob provided an in-depth perspective on the contemporary furniture industry and truly shared their passion for authentic design. Do not miss this one!

Could you please tell us the name of your business and briefly explain what you do?

Monika: Our business name is Alteriors Contemporary Furniture Inc., but we go by Alteriors. What we do is provide authentic, high quality, carefully selected furniture brands in Ottawa. We try to cater to the mid to high end residential and commercial markets.

Jacob: We provide a positive shopping experience for the consumer. We compete with a lot of online companies so for us it’s all about the experience. If you’re buying an $8000 sofa we want to ensure you’re spending your money the right way, It’s about the right size, the right fit, the right piece. It’s very interactive with the customer.

Monika: We offer in house consultations that are free of charge for about an hour to better understand the client’s needs and the space that they’re working with so we can better suit the furniture for the space. We do furniture layouts and we do drawings, 3D drawings that help customers visualize the space better. Also, the main thing for us is authenticity in our products. We do not carry any knock off brands, Jacob and myself both have design backgrounds. I have an architectural degree and Jacob has an interior design diploma. It’s important for us to carry brands that are authentic to the designer and respect the designer’s research and development processes.

Jacob: We call our product semi-custom, there’s many options for everything. You come in and you see the piece, then we can configure it, fabrics, leathers etc. If we had 300 000 sq ft, we probably still couldn’t show everything we sell. Here it’s like a little boutique representing the brands so you can see the quality and then you order. One of our companies has 4 million SKUs. You can have one table with ten different tops and ten different legs, those ten different tops can come in five different finishes. walnut, oak, etc.

What made you want to start in this business/industry and when did you start?

Monika: It started with me working for the previous owner here, I worked for him for about two and a half years. I left the retail business for about two years and in retrospect realized that I really did enjoy what I was doing being more connected in the design industry with furniture and stuff, that was in 2009. I came back in 2009 and we took over. We both have design backgrounds as I mentioned, a degree in architecture and interior design so we both have a love for design and different fields regardless. With having worked here in the past I really felt comfortable to take this on. Jacob made his decision to leave his government job at the time, it was a 100% dedicated decision to go into it full force. It was a great opportunity presented to us from the business owner, we couldn’t pass it up.

Jacob: We always wanted to have a store, we just thought it would happen closer to retirement. When you see Ligne Roset, it looks good but it’s also comfortable, that’s designed furniture. It’s not like someone has taken a photo of a sofa, sent it off to China to have it replicated, without studying the ergonomics of it. Everything here has had an actual designer design it. They’ve thought, how does your body fit in it, what’s the depth, what’s the height, how’s it going to work? Ligne Roset has exquisite and unique pieces that look great and are comfortable, they hit it right on the head.

Monika: We love design, that’s our background. We love to get people excited about design. The big thing for us was to educate people about design and designers. We take the time to explain why that Eames chair is the price that it is, versus what’s available down the street for a thousand dollars. It’s up to us to take our time to talk to people and educate, not everyone’s going to be aware.

Jacob: You wouldn’t want someone to take a paper that you’ve written, put their name on it, change the title a little bit and send it off. There’s a lot of work involved to make something so simple work well.

What do you love most about your business/industry?

Jacob: Problem solving! In a different way. You have a space, you want your space to work, you spent a lot of money on a home, how’s it going to flow, how’s it going to move. We don’t sell furniture, we don’t sell anything! We guide people to make the right choice. There’s no pressure, we want you to have the right piece, that’s key. People come to us and they want a sectional, if they have a 500 sq ft place or bigger place, either way they want a sectional. It may not work, some stores may still set it, but we won’t.

Monika: We don’t just jam the space up with furniture.

Jacob: For example is the piece going to fit in an elevator? Will it fit around the corner. We’ve seen so much stuff that we can usually solve these problems really quickly.

What are some technological challenges you’ve faced as a business and how was CapitalTek able to help?

Jacob: Like any small business we’ve got our skills, and they are not technologically based, we’re designers. This was eating so much of our time in the beginning to try and get stuff up and understand new technology. We had so many issues.

Monika: From the technological standpoint we need a proper POS system. So that we can organize orders etc.

Jacob: CapitalTek helped us with us the little things, the important things that make the business run. Because of your customer service and quick response we were happy with your services.

Feature Client: Alteriors

Feature Client: Alteriors

For this week’s #FeatureClientFriday, we’re proud to introduce our client Alteriors. Alteriors has been offering modern and contemporary furniture solutions to Ottawa and the surrounding area since 1997. Below are further details about Alteriors, and next week we’ll be sitting down with the owners for an interview, so check back!

Alteriors is not simply just a contemporary furniture store, it is a place where unabashed creativity culminates in the artistry of superior design, exquisite craftsmanship and inspired aesthetic. Specializing in exclusive luxury pieces that cannot be found elsewhere in the Ottawa region, Alteriors handpicks and delivers a mosaic of unique furniture and home accents that will resonate in the present, but also transform with time to become treasured family heirlooms.

Alteriors opened in 1997, and was regarded as Ottawa’s location for modern quality design. Changing hands in 2009, Alteriors has undergone a major revitalization. Customer service, Store Aesthetics and Brands were updated to provide Ottawa with more of the items originally only available in larger cities.

We feel a boutique showroom doesn’t mean unobtainable. Our doors are at street level, and open to anyone who is interested in exploring something new, or just taking a break from the day to enjoy beautiful design. We are very lucky to really love what we do, and we hope it shows and leaves people with a positive experience, and a little more knowledge of design.

Owners Jacob and Monika believe that design of any kind is meant to inspire and encourage original thinking. It is their warm inviting showroom, however, that personifies that belief, regularly debuting new extraordinary pieces in a series of comfortable vignettes that translate into the real world. “We are creative, visual people with strong design backgrounds,” says Monika. “And we love furniture. We roll all of that artistic appreciation together and inject it into our showroom.” “We want to encourage people to think outside the box, expose them to new ideas and ultimately push the design envelope to show what is possible,” reveals Jacob.

Whether you are a professional looking to expand creative horizons, or simply someone searching for the perfect piece to complete your inner space, step into Alteriors and be welcomed home to quality design.

Feature Client: Tego Inc.

Feature Client: Tego Inc.

This week we’re featuring our client Tego Inc., a bathrooms solutions company based in the West end of Ottawa.

Here’s some background information from our client’s website:

From Sault St. Marie in Northern Ontario and destined to pursue what one might call The Canadian Dream, John Manzo and Mike Aubrey met and decided that their shared vision of hard work, an obsessive attention-to-detail, and a deep sense of pride in excellent craftsmanship and service would lead them to success. And, they couldn’t have been more right!

By staying true to this vision over the last twenty years, every project is consistently completed beyond industry standard with many awards and happy customers to prove it. They demonstrate their commitment everyday: on the showroom floor, in Tego’s Design Studio, and on the job.

We interviewed co-owner, John Manzo, to provide further insight into his company:

Could you please tell us the name of your business and briefly explain what you do?

We started out as Bath Wall Manufacturing, but people perceived that as being our only service and we were doing much more than that so we transitioned into Tego. We started in 1988, we’ve been in this building for about 10 years, it’s our own building and we have our cabinet shop here, our CNC machines, our custom fabrication and our design centre.

What’s a CNC machine?

A CNC machine means computer controlled routing. (Acronym is for Computer Numeric Control)

What made you want to start in this business/industry?

We started out with the idea of making custom one piece tub surroundings. This concept had already been done as long ago as 56 years, but they were made as a single unit. We took a process that had been done and created our own version of it. We had a custom fabricated product that could be produced easily and quickly and installed easily by the end user. We incorporated advanced technology into the manufacturing process, that’s how we were different. We were the first shop in Ottawa to have a CNC machine, besides the NRC.

What do you love most about your business/industry?

The creativity— being able to design. We’re always working on different projects so the variety as well. It’s a fun industry to create things, designing and creating an end product. Working with various people, designers etc. collaborating on projects.

What are some technological challenges you’ve faced as a business and how was CapitalTek able to help?

Integrating our systems better, communications systems working better. Having scheduling lining up with our email etc. Interfacing what’s going on my system with everyone else. We needed the technology for sure, we wanted to improve our accounting, our processing for purchase orders etc. From the time the customer comes in through to placing their order and getting their project completed, there’s a stream of communication that has to be shared to ensure this process is streamlined. The technology has helped greatly with this process.

Feature Client: Solutions Customized Home Cleaning Inc.

Feature Client: Solutions Customized Home Cleaning Inc.

This week we’re featuring our client Solutions Customized Home Cleaning Inc.

Here’s some background information from our client’s website:

We are a privately owned company whose management draws strength from the diverse & expert skills of its owners. This expertise combines talent & knowledge spanning many years in the entrepreneurial, customer service & operational cleaning fields. We offer a choice of traditional or full eco–friendly products safe for your family and pets.

We interviewed the owner Marc to provide further insight into his company:

Could you please tell us the name of your business and briefly explain what you do?

“Our company’s name is Solutions Customized Home Cleaning. We are in Nepean and specialize in residential home cleaning, we don’t do commercial and we don’t do institutional that’s all we do. This business was started by wife and my daughter, and they started this thing literally from scratch, they knew nothing about it. My daughter knows about the cleaning business, because she worked in Westin Hotel, and if you know the hotel business, you know cleanliness is important. It was an easy transition to go in to residential because it was the same kind of approach really. They started the thing and they worked on it for two years or three years I think and then my wife took sick. We started in this same office in 2011. We were talking about putting some money down and when this came up we sort of clinched it.

What made you want to start in this business/industry and when did you start?

“If you’re manufacturing or if you’re representing somebody or whatever it’s got its peculiarities but when it is a service you have some control over it. The idea was if this sort of kept growing then we would have added more and more staff. At one point, we had four ladies working here so that’s a lot of ins and outs.”

What do you love most about your business/industry?

“I think the best part is if you have a full capacity to do work and you achieve a part of that work there is a certain amount of satisfaction. When our staff have gone and they have come back, everybody’s safe and the customers are happy, you are getting repeat business from your customer base that’s a success. So the first answer is if you get your bookings you are happy. And if you can maintain that month in and month out I think that’s the challenge.”

“What are some technological challenges you’ve faced as a business and how was CapitalTek able to help?”

“When CapitalTek came around the business was at the point of collapse, it was that bad. When CapitalTek began with us one of the things that they told us was when the system is in place and you throw on a switch it will work. At that time when you put the switch on you didn’t know if it was going to work. The emails were streamlined in to one email address and that made a big difference. With this working it contributed to getting 100 percent on the clock. If you are down for a day or two everything stops. So if you ask what impact it was definitely a very positive impact.”

Feature Client: Stan’s HVAC Systems

Feature Client: Stan’s HVAC Systems

This week we’re featuring our client Stan’s HVAC systems.

Here’s some background information from our client’s website:

We know the importance of family. In fact, that strong connection became the basis for our approach to customer service: To always treat our customers like family.

For more than 40 years, Ottawa homeowners have trusted Stan’s Heating & Air Conditioning to keep them comfortable and breathing easier.

From the most complex installation to routine service and maintenance, Stan’s has the expertise, the people and the products you need. We’ll work with you to find the solution that’s right for your home, one that fits your needs—and your budget.

We interviewed the owner Lyle to provide further insight into his company:

Could you please tell us the name of your business and briefly explain what you do?

“So Stan is my uncle and he started the business back in ‘69. He incorporated in 69 and actually started in ‘68. Then I worked for them for about three years before I took it over in April of ‘04 and has carried it over since.”

“So we will be celebrating 50 years in 2019.”

“Ironically enough the rebranding has went through different stages. When we got the logo that we have now the colors that we ended up using were pretty much the same colours that Stan used back on his original van, even though we had never seen the original van before we did it. So that was kind of an interesting coincidence.”

Do the colours represent anything?

“Customers think yellow is the sun, green is the environment, blue is for cooling and red is for heating. The logo was just designed more or less for the purposes of representing Stan as a trustworthy, reputable, to give the customers the warm feeling that they can rely on Stan to take care of them. That was actually the design of the logo.”

What made you want to start in this business/industry and when did you start?

“I actually started at this late in life – in the traditional so called HVAC business if you want to call it that. I worked at Pepsi for almost fifteen years, then I went in to high-tech, then high-tech tanked and I was out work for about three weeks. My Uncle Stan called me and said I understand that you are looking for some work and I could use your hand to haul out some oil tanks and do some labour work. I helped him out for maybe two or three weeks and then went back home and said to my wife you know what, everybody needs heat and cooling so I think I am going to go back to school at night and work during the day. I worked with my uncle for a little while, got in to the trade and the opportunity came fairly early in my HVAC career to buy the business from my uncle. I thought this was an opportunity that does not come often in life, and I ended up buying the business from my uncle and haven’t looked back since.”

What do you love most about your business/industry?

“The fact that we are able to help clients in their home. It is their space and it is very important to them. The fact that we can make them comfortable in their house and make them feel confident that everything is done according to code and manufacturer’s specs etc. I like that we’re strictly residential and not commercial.

What are some technological challenges you’ve faced as a business and how was CapitalTek able to help?

“We, like most companies, started out more or less working with what we have and what we know and then you grow to a point that you realize that you’re going to need help because the technological world is growing and that is becoming part of all the businesses. CRM, email systems, cloud etc. and the list goes on. Those items are not our area of expertise. Our area of expertise is in HVAC, furnaces, air conditioners, HRVs, that’s what we specialize in. You finally reach a point where you have done with what you know then you need to call in experts like CapitalTek to help you grow in that area.

Feature Client: Trax International Ltd

Feature Client: Trax International Ltd

This week we’re featuring our client Trax International Ltd, a logistics company based right here in the Nation’s capital.

Here’s some background information from our client’s website:

Trax International is located in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, and is a wholly owned and operated Canadian logistics company specializing in transportation of household goods and personal effects.

Trax International began trading in 1982 and has over 25 years experience in the transport of international and domestic relocations. From around the corner to around the world, Trax International will move your possessions as if they were their own.

Through our team of highly trained and experienced professionals worldwide, we use state-of-the-art and operational methods to provide a full range of quality relocations services including packing furniture and personal effects, storage facilities, shipping and transit insurance both in canada in concert with our network of agents worldwide.

Trax international is also a licensed freight forwarder for commercial and exhibition shipments. We offer ocean ad airfreight shipping and logistics services throughout Canada, the United States and worldwide.

We interviewed the President, Matt Welch, to provide further insight into his company:

Could you please tell us the name of your business and briefly explain what you do?

Trax International Ltd is the name of my company which I started in 1982, so thirty five years ago. We’re a logistics company and many logistics companies in the 80s used x in their names as in logistix so I decided to name my company Trax.

What made you want to start in this business/industry?

I was working for another company and they needed warehouse space and logistics so that’s why I started. We’re a logistics company and I have some niche business, shipping for trade fairs and embassies. It’s smarter to concentrate on niche markets in this business.

What’s your average shipping job?

It’s mostly shipping containers, you can ship cars in containers, you can actually ship an entire house in a container with a car if you wanted to.

What do you love most about your business/industry?

It’s something that I’ve done for years and it’s always evolving. Once you get into it, it’s hard to get out of it! I work for a lot of Canadians that are doing work overseas.

What are some technological challenges you’ve faced as a business and how was CapitalTek able to help?

Before CapitalTek my office computers were sluggish and my team was constantly loosing time. Now I have peace of mind that everything is working well. They take care of my backups, computer performance, antivirus, printers, emails, as well as webhosting. It’s great to have one company to do all these things for you.