Breaking into the northeast. (Profile of the Week: John Cioffi, Tom Napholz, Joe Montes; Blinds To Go).John Cioffi was tired of working as a handyman. He wanted a career with a future. So when he heard that Blinds To Go was opening a manufacturing center and retail outlet retail outlet n → punto de venta
retail outlet n → point m de vente
retail outlet retail n → in nearby Lakewood, N.J., he applied immediately for a position on the factory floor. That was in November 1998. Today, he supervises an entire department.
Tom Napholz, fresh out of Rutgers University Rutgers University, main campus at New Brunswick, N.J.; land-grant and state supported; coeducational except for Douglass College; chartered 1766 as Queen's College, opened 1771. Campuses and Facilities
Rutgers maintains three campuses. with a degree in industrial engineering, thought Ocean County was strictly for vacationers. But the job opportunities at Blinds To Go seemed too good to miss. He moved to Lakewood two years ago, fell in love with the area, and is now building a new house.
Joe Montes mon·tes
Plural of mons. had been spending hours on the road each day commuting to a distant job. A resident of Howell, N.J., he was experienced in the field of window blinds and couldn't believe his luck when Blinds To Go moved into the area. He jumped at the opportunity to trade his long drive for one of just a few minutes. He is now the company's Facilities Manager.
The three employees represent just a few examples of the benefits that new companies such as Blinds To Go, attracted by the economic advantages of locating in an Urban Enterprise Zone urban enterprise zone: see enterprise zone. (UEZ UEZ Urban Enterprise Zone (Jersey City Economic Development Corporation) ) like Lakewood, have brought the town. "These companies have introduced new jobs and job-training opportunities, attracted new talent to the area, increased the tax base and raised the town's profile on a national and international level," noted Lakewood's Mayor Raymond Coles.
Blinds To Go is one of more than 300 companies that have moved into the UEZ-designated Lakewood Industrial Park in recent years, adding thousands of jobs for the region. In the near future, the industrial park will be enhanced with development of the 185-acre Cedarbridge Corporate Campus. The property will incorporate first-class office space and amenities such as restaurants, banking and other support retail services, attracting high-quality national and international corporations. This will provide Lakewood with even more jobs, higher-paying job opportunities, new tax ratables rat·a·bles
1. Income from property taxes: netted the city over $30 million in new ratables.
2. and an enhancement of Lakewood's image as a great place to live and work.
The story of Blinds To Go is typical of the positive relationship between the town and its new corporate neighbors. Blinds To Go, Inc.'s U.S. headquarters, located in Iselin, N.J., is the largest vertically integrated manufacturer and retailer of window blinds and shades in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. . A few years ago, the company made the strategic decision to enter the northeast, United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. market, beginning its activity by targeting major metropolitan areas. Rather than have the blinds shipped all the way from its main Canadian plant, the most logical plan was to establish a manufacturing and distribution facility in the northeast United States. And the most logical site, as it turned out, was Lakewood.
"We were considering several East Coast locations, but the Lakewood community put together an economic package that made it advantageous for us to choose this site," explained Jeffrey Raynor, vice president of marketing. "There was money available for training employees, property tax abatements, sales tax sales tax, levy on the sale of goods or services, generally calculated as a percentage of the selling price, and sometimes called a purchase tax. It is usually collected in the form of an extra charge by the retailer, who remits the tax to the government. savings on some equipment purchased and short-term utility abatements," he noted, listing some of the UEZ benefits. "It is also convenient in that we have easy accessibility to the larger markets we serve: metropolitan New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , Washington and Philadelphia."
The Lakewood manufacturing location, which began "as a piece of dirt and a blueprint," has grown to a 100,000-SF state-of-the art, spacious, bright and attractive facility, employing more than 200 area residents. The location supplies product to 50 superstores This is a list of superstores by country. Multi-national
"The plant is organized into product areas, and each product--wood blinds, verticals, pleated shades, etc.--is handled by a team from start to finish," explained Jyothish Daniel, senior director of manufacturing operations Manufacturing operations concern the operation of a facility, as opposed to maintenance, supply and distribution, health, and safety, emergency response, human resources, security, information technology and other infrastructural support organizations. . "People development is very important to us. We train staff not only in technical skills, but also in leadership qualities. The goal is to offer every opportunity for employees to build a career here, rather than just hold down a job. Five of our supervisors worked their way from the ground up."
Cioffi confirms that experience. "I was hired as a fabric cutter cutter, small, one-masted sailing vessel, with a rig similar to that of a sloop except that it usually has a sliding bowsprit and a topmast. From 1800 to 1830 cutters were in service between England and France. in the roller shades department, but management recognized my capabilities to do more. I worked as a team leader and then, in just a little over a year, I became a supervisor and developed my people skills and organizational abilities in the process."
All manufacturing employees receive on-the-job training as well as classroom modules. Engineers like Napholz are on a 'rotational program' giving them in-depth experience in every department. "I've been given quite a lot of responsibility and have gotten real mentorship and coaching," he said.
"The company recognizes individuals' skills with positions that match their growth," said Joe Montes. "I started out in maintenance, assembling and fixing machines. Then I was promoted to supervisor of maintenance, working with engineers, re-vamping the plant as necessary. We're constantly trying to make it more comfortable with sound proofing, a new vacuum system vacuum system Urology A mechanical system used to facilitate and maintain an erection; an erection erector. Cf Penile implant. , brighter lighting...Management identified my talents working with people, and now I'm also involved in the hiring of new personnel."
The Lakewood site is also home of the Blinds To Go web site and e-commerce division, as well as the "Blinds To Go University". "All the U.S. salaried staff start here, learning the culture, history and vision of the company and all about the product," explained Daniel. "A week-long class is followed by two-to-three weeks of in-store training in our retail shop, which is connected directly to the factory."
"People from all over the country come here for their training," he continued. "Many of them have never seen more of New Jersey than the Newark Airport. But they come to Lakewood, they discover the area and its beauty, and they remember it as part of the common experience they all share in training for their career at Blinds To Go."
Just as employees become part of the Blinds To Go family, the company has become part of the Lakewood family and active members of the community. A plaque from the local soccer club hangs on the entryway wall, thanking the company for its contribution. Recently, they participated in a "Night Out Against Crime" with the Lakewood Police Department.
"Blinds To Go supports our community, provides jobs, brings in new tax-paying residents, hosts visitors who patronize pa·tron·ize
tr.v. pa·tron·ized, pa·tron·iz·ing, pa·tron·iz·es
1. To act as a patron to; support or sponsor.
2. To go to as a customer, especially on a regular basis.
3. local merchants, and has built an aesthetically pleasing facility that enhances our township township: see town. ," said Mayor Coles. "What a great example of how public and private efforts have come together for the benefit of all. It's been a real win-win for everyone."