D&WC: Please give a detailed description of your company and its history.
Alan Rakitin: Bamboo Abbott Florida Corp. was founded in 1972 as a branch of Bamboo Abbott Inc., which was located in New York, NY, at the time. Marty Rakitin arrived in May 1976 to take over running the daily operation. In 1984, he bought half of the corporate stock, thereby becoming totally separate from Bamboo Abbott Inc.
In 1986, Jerry Rakitin and his partner sold their stock in Bamboo Abbott Inc. and retired. I was running the plant up north. I moved south to join Marty and help with expanding the business. We started in a 4,000-square-foot warehouse in 1972 and have grown presently to 26,000 square feet with more than 40 employees.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Marty Rakitin: Matchstick Woods was our original product, and it is still a primary product of the company. Today's collection, called The Paintables, includes a line of basic woods and a custom painted option.
Today, products offered by Bamboo Abbott Florida include shutters, roller shades, Roman shades, wood blinds, metal blinds, two-inch vinyl blinds, cellular and pleated shades, verticals and woven woods. Most of the products are also available with AC or DC motorization.
Bamboo Abbott Florida offers more products manufactured in-house than any other company in Florida. To accomplish this, modern machines have been added to assure quality and speed in production. In addition to the custom hard window coverings, Bamboo Abbott Florida carries three lines of drapery hardware, each complementing the other to provide a solution for all design projects.
D&WC: Is your business computerized? Do you have a company Web site?
Marty Rakitin: In the market today, it is very important to have computers to aid in order entry, order tracking, inventory control and even in some of the new machines that make blinds, verticals and curved tracks. We use the PIC Business software to run our company. We selected this package after playing around with other systems that were less dependable for our needs.
Our Web site (www.bambooabbott.com) is a work in progress, which we use today to inform customers of the scope of products we have to offer. We are adding pattern and color selections that make it easy for new customers to see what we offer. Other enhancements are on the drawing board.
D&WC: Who are your customers? What parts of the country do you service?
Alan Rakitin: Our primary customer base is made up of independent retailers, but we have some buying groups and designers in the mix.
Currently, we have four outside sales people as well as one inside our sales department. At present, we have sales coverage from New York to the tip of Florida, and inland to Tennessee in the South. We do have customers across all the states and in the Caribbean, which are handled by our inside sales department.
D&WC:How has your segment of the industry changed since you first began?
Marty Rakitin: When Bamboo Abbott Florida was formed, most vendors supplied components for one product line. Fabricators like us actually offered fuller product assortments to the dealers than the big houses of the time. This fueled the growth of our business. We were more of a one-stop shop for our customers.
Really new products in our industry have been few. Pleated shades, cellular shades, soft vertical and horizontal are some of the "new" products that come to mind since Bamboo Abbott Florida was formed. The real growth of the industry came from the expansion within current product lines. More colors for mini-blinds, more patterns and greater color selection for verticals, more styles for woven woods, the comeback of two-inch wood blinds and new style products for Roman and roller shades.
The level of service from the fabricators forced many larger companies to step up their service departments and delivery times. The consumer today expects products to be delivered in a few days instead of weeks, which was the norm for a lot of companies when we started. Modern machines, driven by newer technology, have helped to produce better products in less time to satisfy the consumer.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Marty Rakitin: Every successful company has to have something special to offer its customers. I guess you could say that special something for Bamboo Abbott Florida is found in our roots. We do an incredible job with our woven wood line. Going one step further, we offer unlimited color selection on many patterns with our Paintables collection. We were one of the first companies to motorize blinds and shades.
From this, customers come to us because they value having the job done correctly the first time. We pioneered the open weave fabrics like Sheerweave for Roman and roller shades. Today you see these products being used in commercial and residential applications.
Competition has increased many times over, and we like to think we had a part in creating this demand. We also do a lot of drapery and vertical rod bending for those hard-to-cover shapes.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Alan Rakitin: A major factor in any company's success lies in its employees. We hire dedicated, experienced employees who care about their jobs and the company. We have employees that have more than 10, 20 and 30 years of experience in the window coverings industry.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
Marty Rakitin: It is the above niche items that separate us from most companies. If you go to a national company and ask for something that is not in its line, most times you are out of luck. When we have a request for something not in our line, we try our best to accommodate the customer. We offer more specialty items to complement our core product line. We are constantly looking for the new and unusual product to keep us on the cutting edge of our industry.
Bamboo Abbott florida corp.
750 N.W. 33rd St., Ste. A
Pompano Beach, FL 33064-2012
Fax: (800) 486-3449
Fax: (800) 486-4471