Evolution, Diversification Key to Survival for Small Business

Green Home Experts Celebrates Seven Difficult Years in Business
OAK PARK, Ill. - Feb. 12, 2015 - PRLog -- Maria Onesto Moran has a lot to celebrate these days. Seven years ago she opened Green Home Experts in its original Oak Park location in a tiny storefront. “I wanted to be a green building showroom, but I had no idea that by the end of 2008, the housing market would be in freefall and no one was even picking up a hammer.” Now she's celebrating seven difficult years in business.

In order to keep cash flowing, Onesto Moran added a general store component to her business. In addition to showcasing sustainable flooring, paint, tile, and insulation, she also started carrying cleaning supplies, pet and baby products, and personal care items. Even as the recession came into full force, the general store’s revenues grew. Tremendously.

“I chose to locate my business in Oak Park because its government, businesses and residents are committed to sustainability. Even at a time when large-ticket items in my showroom were out of reach for most people, my general store products were very lucrative.”

Then in 2011, Onesto Moran wanted more. “I joke that every year I either expand my family or my business.” After her first son’s first birthday in 2011, she moved Green Home Experts to a new Oak Park location that was three times the size of her old location. This one also included a garden center. “My mom and her parents were natural gardeners, so I believe it’s in my blood. Our garden center is small but mighty and it’s a true passion of mine.”

The new location offered customers the much-needed space for the general store, inventory storage and new garden center. Ironically, it also gave way to an expanded showroom because sales of Green Home Experts’ eco-friendly remodeling products were spiking. “I moved to the new location so I’d have more space for the general store and to add a revenue stream with the garden center. And then our showroom sales took off on us, and I just had to laugh at myself for thinking I had it all figured out,” joked Onesto Moran.

With expanded staffing, hours, financing and storage Onesto Moran finally felt ready to pursue her WBE (Woman Business Enterprise) certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. This certification is a marketing tool that increased Green Home Experts’ bid competitiveness on public construction jobs and materials supply requests. Green Home Experts became WBE certified in 2012.

In 2013 when she was six months pregnant with her second son, Onesto Moran secured a contract the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance as their exclusive distributor for their STEP (Savings through Efficient Products) program. STEP offers qualified public facilities free, high quality, energy- and water- saving products which are supplied by Green Home Experts. To date, more than 100 public schools and parks that have installed STEP-provided products have saved a combined $100,000 per year on energy costs.

And just a few weeks ago, Green Home Experts inked a deal with Biosphere Technologies to become the Midwest distributor of their compostable plates, cups, and food packaging products.

With a showroom, general store, garden center, and distribution center in its fold, Green Home Experts is finally making the money Onesto Moran expected it to. “Last year, our net income grew by 563%. That’s fantastic news, but when you start at the absolute bottom like we did, you have two choices–either go out of business like all of our competition did or find a way to survive until the economy recovers and we recover with it,” Onesto Moran said.

With the recession behind her, Onesto Moran hopes that experience was once in a lifetime, but she knows it taught her priceless lessons in resilience. “I believe that good business is based on good relationships. Thanks to the great relationships I have with my vendors, employees and customers, I know that Green Home Experts will continue to grow and succeed over the years.”

Green Home Experts is celebrating its seventh birthday party at the store on Saturday, February 28th, 10am-2pm, 811 South Blvd., Oak Park, IL. More information about the party and this article in full are available at greenblog.ghexperts.com. Additional photos available upon request.

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About Green Home Experts — An Oak Park-based specialty retailer in sustainable building materials, green lifestyle goods, and eco-gardening, Green Home Experts offers green alternatives to almost anything customers use in and around their homes. One of the only businesses of its kind in the Midwest, Green Home Experts takes great pride in assisting homeowners and builders to create dwellings that are better for the earth and its inhabitants. Green Home Experts is dedicated to providing only the best products at the best prices. Visit our store at 811 South Boulevard, Oak Park, IL 60302. Phone: 708.660.1443. Email: gogreen@ghexperts.com. Find out more about Maria Onesto Moran and Green Home Experts at http://www.ghexperts.wordpress.com. “Like” Green Home Experts on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Home-Experts/43634704… (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Home-Experts/43634704...), and follow us on Twitter @ghexperts.

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