You don’t have to grow a small business alone in Louisville, KY--in my opinion it would be foolish to think that you can do everything alone, especially when you don’t have to. Last Fall I discovered two hidden gems in Opportunity City both of which are extraordinarily special in regards to what they do for our community and what they can do for you. These two facilities that I speak of are Custom Quality Services and Harbor House.
Custom Quality Services is a 180,000 sq. ft. behemoth facility located in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, KY. You’ll need a golf cart in order to navigate the building’s floor in a timely manner but the truly remarkable feature is not the building’s size, it’s not the 800,000 bottles of liquor that move through the facility each year–it’s the 300 employees it houses, each with some form of severe socio-economic impairment such as Autism, Down-Syndrome, Blindness etc. Custom Quality Services is a non-profit workshop with a mission to help adults overcome their extraordinary boundaries and lead a happy healthy productive lives.
Harbor House is located in Southwest Louisville and primarily focuses on fulfillment needs involving bulk mailing. Just like Custom Quality Services, Harbor House employs adults living with severe socio-economic barriers. Harbor House can assist you with about every aspect of your mailing campaign from design, cost control, generating lists, market segmentation, sorting, folding and most importantly getting your material in the mail on time!
Both Custom Quality Services and Harbor House are small business engines that many people in the community don’t know about. Imagine if you had an idea for a Widget company, called Widget Inc. Last year you made some Widgets for your friends and family and they really liked what you did and you thought, hey, I wonder if a person would buy these Widgets? The only problem is that you can only make 20 Widgets in eight hours, you have a career, a mortgage and a family to feed…you can’t start a Widget company–that’s far too much time. What if you created a Widget sensation, you’d have to make all the Widgets and then when people wanted more and more Widgets you couldn’t make all the Widgets yourself, you can’t quit your job and make Widgets all day and feed your family– you’d have to hire someone to make the Widgets for you…and you can’t just hire anyone and your friends are leading successful busy lives too; they can’t help you either. The Bank says your revenues aren’t big enough for a sizable loan and they want your house for collateral, the venture capital guys are all tied up in tech businesses and the Angels don’t seem to be listening either. Pretty soon you’re idea for Widget Inc. is thrown out the window and your dream of a small business is replaced by a cup of coffee in the morning that helps you accept a false sense of reality that seems to beat your imagination into submission. Facilities like Custom Quality Services and Harbor House can help you and here’s how–it’s very simple.
If you can teach someone how to make your Widget, Custom Quality Services can make them. If you can make 20 Widgets in eight hours, Custom Quality Services can make 500+ in the same time. You don’t have to worry about paying someone an hourly rate right away because Custom Quality Services will charge you a per-unit rate. Custom Quality Services will produce your Widget for a pre-determined unit rate fee depending on how long it takes to assemble your Widget. In this case we’ll say it’s $4.00 per unit. So now you can easily calculate what each Widget costs to produce, including labor. $4.00 in labor + $6.00 in materials = $10.00 in labor and materials. If you sell your Widget for $20.00, that’s Keystone and you’ve got a beautiful small business that you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to store all the equipment, building overhead, insurance and or the time it takes to make all your Widgets when you’ve got your life to support. It’s all taken care of by CQS. As you grow and you want to keep up with your competition, Harbor House can help you market your product beyond just word of mouth. Create a website and I’m sure either Harbor House or CQS can help you achieve your fulfillment needs. Sure it’s going to take some time away from your routine schedule, but you have a lot of the major time consuming aspects of your business taken care of by utilizing these two facilities.
Finally, the best thing about these facilities is invaluable. The people assembling your product are loving every aspect of the process. You just can’t pay someone to love what they do and the people at CQS and Harbor House Love what they do. You can’t get that easily from just anyone and you’re going to see that love and passion for their work translated into the quality of your products. Personally, that’s truly what makes these facilities indispensable in Louisville’s small business owner’s tool box.