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About Alexander Calzadilla

Alexander Calzadilla is a Cuban male originally from Philadelphia, who has happily called Miami his home since moving here at the age of 15. He attended Southwest Sr. High School and Florida International University, ultimately receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. While in college, he began working as a paralegal for the Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Reichenbacher, a position he kept for seven years after graduation. He subsequently worked at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Associates before landing at Costa Nursery. After distinguishing himself with many accomplishments, he was promoted to the position of Director of Specialty Products, which included the orchid, bonsai and lucky bamboo departments. When Alex was first put in charge of the three departments, they ranked near the bottom. By the time he left Costa after seven years, Alex had transformed the floundering departments into unqualified successes, posting record earnings, sales and profitability. In 2008 Alex was named the Costa Employee of the Year. Alex now puts his formidable prowess as a businessman into his newest venture, Avant-Garde Home Furnishings, LLC, serving as Managing Partner.

About Avant-Garde

We offer home furnishings and decor for every area of your home,both inside and out, always striving to bring you the most current design elements being used by today's top designers, at a fraction of their retail cost. Whether you are completely redecorating an area of your home, looking for the perfect accent piece to finish off an existing room, shopping for a unique gift, or simply "window shopping" to get design ideas, Avant-Garde is the place to go for everything modern & contemporary for your home.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

My old costa Job.... (magazine article about me has a link below)

My old job at Costa Farms, LLC    

   Today I am going to talk about my old job at Costa Farms, LLC. and my role as director of specialty products within the company.. The main department I ran was the orchid department, and I did so from a 7 million dollar glass greenhouse capable of holding 1.7 million orchids inside.
    When I first took over the departments, boy were they in bad shape, making no money, plants dying everywhere and credits were through the roof. Big vendors like Walmart, Publix, HD PBS, Florida, BJ's wouldn't even look at us..The department was in shambles. ..
    It was not an easy task but within a year we had our books under control, our orchids were the best in the country, and the old establishment was begging for our orchids. WE got Publix, BJ's, HD, Florida and the NE sector, Sams stayed on, Walmart came back, who insisted we ship orchids in a 28 degree truck with their perishable goods.. Impossible.. Or was it.. We found out by using heat packs, like the ones they use for tropical fish work great and of course an insulated box and timed to the tee travel to the store for you see the heat packs expire. By the begining of 2010 we were the best orchid department in the country, had the highest efficiency, and were the best run,.. We were the envy of everyone..
     It was around 2 years we met with another company United Orchids Plus corporation out of New York that all of this began, for you see all the credit of having better orchids and quality beyond anything imaginable should go to them, and of course me for always being there with them and showing with respect and understanding how things were done to turn a profit.. You see they have the closest family and ownership on the planet.. Everyone in their family is super sweet and actually are the only thing I really miss from my old job.
      For you see with growth comes a lot of responsibility. We would have hit 20 million in sales last year as we got the largest orders from Walmart- 77,000 units, Sams, 35,000 units, Lowes, 60,000 units for the mother's day period.. Publix 16,000 mini orchids, a product I myself introduced to the consumer and little it became an overnight sensation..
      From 10,000 units sold the first year to 250,000 units sold last year, at least that was my estimate.. For you see I left in August 2010 not because I wanted to but for other reasons better left out of this blog. I left behind, friends, people I considered family, and most important the people in my department that I grew attached to and I always took care of.. For you working for me, meant shade, a nice working environment, (you could eat off the floors) and employee area which was the envy of the company, and of course a 7 million air conditioned greenhouse, for the extreme heat in Florida. We worked double shifts during Mother's Day and Valentines day to keep up the demand and the huge spike in existing customer orders. By double shifting I mean working from 6-3 one shift and 3-11 another.. A huge success..
    Why you might ask because at time and 1/2 overtime kills the department and the people in it, fr you see working so many hours would tire anyone and efficiency goes down the drain after lunch.. so by having two shifts we made sure we had fresh people to work all the time.. except me of course, I was always there since I lived on the second floor of this greenhouse in a beautiful apartment built upstairs.
      By the time season was over we had had the most successful Valentines - Mother's day ever for the company, had made a lot of money and were envy of the entire orchid community. Realize that every vendor has special pots, tags, varieties of orchids, colors, and all of this has to be ready in a three week window since the product must get to the stores 2-3 weeks before the holidays. I have composed a series of pictures for all of you to better understand this concept because frankly I really don' t think any of you can imagine what a greenhouse with a million orchids in bloom looks like all different colors, multi spiking, and shipping every minute.


Pictures of the Orchids...




Walmart Order about to ship







HD Florida Order about to ship




BJ's and Costco orders - ALWAYS wanted yellow flowers







The Greenhouse and Apt upstairs




















My Office:




























     And so ends my story about the last chapter in my life. Now begining a new with Avant Garde I welcome all of you to my daily blog and product listings and offerings.. Please visit my store at www.aghomegoods.com... I wish you all happy shopping and a great rest of your
weekend..

Alex Calzadilla

- Ag home goods

1 comment:

  1. http://www.ballpublishing.com/GrowerTalks/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=16837

    article about my career and work at Costa

    ReplyDelete

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