Premium content from Charlotte Business Journal by Bea Quirk , Contributing writer (see full article here)
Date: Friday, January 20, 2012, 6:00am EST - Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012, 12:30pm EST
Paul Cardone, Garage Door Guru
It must be in the genes. New York transplant Paul Cardone, 34, represents the third generation of his family to operate a garage-door repair and installation company.
His father and grandfather operated their businesses on Long Island. But Cardone established his enterprise in his adopted city of Charlotte.
In 2001, shortly after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, he bought the assets of an existing garage-door company — assets that basically consisted of a phone line and prepaid advertising in the Yellow Pages.
Two years later, he rebranded and renamed the business Garage Door Guru.
Cardone believes he has weathered the recession well for two reasons.
First, he chose to deal directly with consumers instead of working with homebuilders.
“I wanted to keep things simple — not have to sit on large inventories and then wait for a check,” he says. “This business has extremely low margins, and I couldn’t wait forever to get paid. This strategy — and keeping overhead low — has worked to my advantage.”
Second, the garage-door business tends to be recession-proof, he notes. “If you’ve got a broken garage door or are trapped in your garage, you’ve got to get it fixed.”
Cardone’s company installs high-end doors and is the exclusive area dealer for the German-made Hormann line. But more than 75% of his business comes from repair work. “If you give good service, people appreciate it,” he says.
His strategy enabled the company to move to a new location — with showroom and warehouse space — in South End in late 2010.
“It is a huge advantage to bring people here,” Cardone says.