Imagine moving your home more than 1200 miles and starting a new business in a new and unfamiliar city… simultaneously. Sounds like a steep climb, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what Judy and Gary Lemay did. And they couldn’t be happier.
They have fallen in love with their new hometown of Palm Coast and its residents, “the nicest people in the world” according to the Lemays. At the same time, they have successfully launched and are now watching their new company, Bedtops Mattress Clearance Center, build a loyal customer base and grow into a profitable local business.
Bedtops Mattress Clearance Center sells brand new, name brand, direct-from-the-manufacturer mattresses which allows them to offer their customers the lowest possible prices. “Make us your last stop and best stop in mattress buying,” says Judy Lemay. Our company prides itself in making deliveries available using local people who are polite and caring. “We’re all family here” states Judy.
The Lemays will be the first to tell you they didn’t get the business up and running and growing alone. “We didn’t know the market. We didn’t know what location to pick. We didn’t know if we’d get a warehouse,” says Gary Lemay. “So, the first thing we did was go to the Palm Coast Business Assistance Center (BAC). That’s where we found the Florida SBDC at UCF-Palm Coast and FSBDC consultant Mike Oppenheim. Mike and the FSBDC have made all the difference.”
The Florida SBDC offers entrepreneurs and business owners expert, no-cost consulting, business training workshops and seminars and access to major market research database resources. Thanks to Oppenheim, the Lemays were able to benefit from many of these services.
“At the beginning, I’m not sure how fast we would have moved,” remarked Judy Lemay. “We were pretty sure we could be successful. But after we met with Mike Oppenheim, we said ‘We can do this. We can make this happen.’ And so we did.”
The FSBDC provided the Lemays with the outline for how to open their business in Palm Coast. Through Oppenheim, it provided tax information they needed, direction on signing up for a resale certificate, market data on local demographics and possible warehouse /sales office locations. All in the Lemay’s first meeting with him.
“As an entrepreneur, when you get excited about your business, sometimes you can be tempted to spend money too fast,” continued Gary Lemay. “You want to do this. You want to do that. You see opportunities everywhere. That’s where the FSBDC came in. We were fortunate to have Mike advising us because he would get our feet back on the ground and help us take things one step at a time.”
“To all the entrepreneurs out there, we say ‘Go use the resources of the FSBDC’ because there’s going to be something you didn’t think of or something you didn’t plan for. And when that happens, the folks at the FSBDC have your back. It’s the only way to go.”