WESTCHESTER, NY (WCBS 880) -- Many business owners pivoted during the pandemic from areas hit hard by COVID-19 into adjacent services that were in need. But, this entrepreneur is running two businesses that seem completely unrelated: events and moving.
Andrew Abatemarco is the co-owner of Jennifer Gould Luxe Event Design, which provides decor for high-end weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs across Westchester, Connecticut and at homes in the Hamptons. When the pandemic hit and events were halted, he got calls from his brother and an employee to help them move using the company's trucks. That is when he saw the opportunity to start a whole new business he named A La Carting, a moving concierge.
"It was such a natural progression because here I am moving in all this decor-related stuff: furniture, florals, acrylic plastic centerpieces for the theatrical tables, installing lighting, ceiling treatments," said Abatemarco on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank. "And basically, I said, my guys can do all this."
Abatemarco already owned the trucks and he has a background in both logistics and sales.
"I knew a moving company that actually helps us and still does in the event space. So, I knew a little bit about it and I saw how it could be a profitable business if you work hard," he said.
"You have to be somewhat of a people's person, because there's a lot of emotions in moving. People, you know, when they move, it's very, very emotional just like the event world."
Abatemarco told WCBS 880 the added value A La Carting offers is the manpower and licenses to be a one-stop-shop for moving everything from light fixtures to gym equipment.
He made the successful pivot with the help of a program offered by the Westchester County Office of Economic Development called Launch1000 that helps 1,000 residents start a business and test market their products and services. Launch1000 was established in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
"Basically, it just got you from A to Z, in a short period of time, de-risking your business opportunity so you don't have to go out-of-pocket and spend money," said Abatemarco. "It was like business school 101 and 102 combined."
The entrepreneur earned a $2,500 grant from Westchester County for graduating from Launch1000. The county also gave $2,500 grants to businesses that earned revenue during the program.
Abatemarco said his son and daughter were inspired by watching him take the idea-accelerator while growing A La Carting and continuing to operate Jennifer Gould Luxe Event Design, which is now seeing pent-up demand ahead of the summer. His son is currently pursuing a business degree at the University of Florida.
"He's talking to me about some of the classes and he remembers my experiences being on Launch1000 through Westchester. And it's like, he just enjoys talking to me about what it's like to launch a business."
Watch the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above for sales advice and ideas for adding value to your business.