Technology Company and Merchandise/Apparel Manufacturer Has Great Start with Assistance from FSBDC at Daytona State College
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or HThayer@ucf.edu
Trecia Marchand, Director/Consultant, FSBDC at DSC, 386.506.3317 or Trecia.firstname.lastname@example.org
Orlando, FL – It’s never easy to be the “new kid” in town. It can be even harder when you are opening a new office and manufacturing facility almost 1,200 miles away from your headquarters in Chicago. For Rich Santo, CEO of Culture Studio — a technology company that powers merch sales for the music and entertainment industries – getting off to a great start in the company’s new locale of Daytona Beach was paramount. Having the Florida Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College (FSBDC at DSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at UCF, in his corner quickly became one of the ways he assured his success.
Culture Studio is in the business of accomplishing apparel and merchandise production in quantity for music, entertainment, retail, and e-commerce customers. Do you remember that fantastic memento you snagged at your last big event? It could have been from Culture Studio. “We are a platform for artists to make merchandise at scale,” describes Santo. “It consists of a proprietary technology that we build in house to power all of our physical assets, like our factories that are set up throughout the country. It’s something nobody can copy. We’ve been building this piece of tech since 2014. It is certainly our ‘secret sauce’ and what makes working with us special for our customers. We call it the ‘CS Experience’ and it’s what makes us better and successful.”
“Our headquarters is in Chicago and our newest facility, a 76,000 sq. ft. office and manufacturing plant, is in Daytona Beach, maybe a block and a half from the Daytona Speedway,” shares Santo. “When we entered the State of Florida, my first questions were: what are the opportunities and what agencies are there to help us get comfortable in the state?” Santo wanted to pinpoint who would be the best fit to help Culture Studio navigate uncharted territories. It was during his initial search that he discovered the FSBDC at Daytona State College.
“The services and overall experience at the FSBDC and with Trecia Marchand (DSC sub-center director and business consultant) and her team have been really incredible for us,” Santo recalls. Leveraging the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert consulting services, Santo was introduced to all corners of the Daytona business community. “The FSBDC has been a really great extension of our team,” Santo continues. “The biggest thing is just the connections, meeting different people and getting introductions.” A security company who is now a building tenant and a top-notch realtor were just two of the valuable connections he has made. “We got to meet so many great people that probably would have taken us months to find. We were kind of fast tracked into all these relationships. To be completely honest, doing business in Daytona has been amazing.”
“The impact on our business of opening our facility in Florida has been awesome,” concludes Santo. “Through first quarter 2023, we have had 68% growth in top line revenue. We have our 76,000 sq. ft. facility up and running. We have hired 65 team members in less than a year, and that’s only 20% of the people we will eventually need. We’ve used a lot of local contractors. I think we’ve become a big part of the community and it’s great for us and for Daytona.” The FSBDC at DSC is proud to have contributed in some small part to Culture Studio’s strong start in the state of Florida.
For information about Culture Studio, please visit https://culturestudio.net/.
— FSBDC —
About the FSBDC at UCF
Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.
The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.
In 2022, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $793.9 million in sales growth; $66.7 million in capital formation; $103.8 million in government contract awards; and 160 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com.
About the Florida SBDC Network
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.
In 2022, Florida SBDCs provided 157,841 hours of professional business consulting to more than 18,379 client businesses. Based on the results from the network’s latest economic impact analysis, the FSBDC’s services resulted in almost 29,000 jobs impacted; $4.8 billion in sales generated; $381.6 million in government contracts acquired; and $528.4 million in capital accessed.
A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.