‘’That is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’’, said Neil Armstrong when he first stepped onto the Moon.
These famous words can be used to describe the Croatian furniture industry, but in reverse order. Recently a small furniture company from Slavonia signed a business deal on furnishing several hotels in the United States and made a giant leap. At the same time, this represents a small but significant step for the weakened Croatian economy.
The Ancona Group Ltd is a modern furniture factory located in the eastern part of Slavonia, in the city of Djakovo. Its latest job is to furnish at least five hotels in the US, from New York and Washington to Miami. The company was founded in 2000; however, since 2003 it has been dealing with manufacture of furniture.
So far, the company has exhibited its furniture in the Middle East, from Dubai to Qatar, as well as in Libya. However, they are primarily focused on the market of Western Europe and Scandinavian countries. The latest business agreement has led the company over the Atlantic to the American market.
‘We have signed an agreement on furnishing five American hotels in 2017 and 2018. Four hotels are members of the Club Quarters hotel chain; three are located in New York and one in Washington. These four hotels are to be furnished by the end of this year. The fifth hotel located in Miami is a member of the Even Hotels, and is to be furnished by March or April next year. We have already sent some samples for the project in Miami, whilst the furniture for hotels in New York and Washington is already in the production process. There are some indications that this agreement could turn into a very serious business’’, explained Markica Stanusic, the owner and director of the Ancona Group.
It is interesting to note that cooperation between the Croatian furniture company and Americans started last year. Stanusic was touring the US in the Christmas period and simply by chance, he made a reservation in one of the hotels of the Club Quarters Hotels chain. When he arrived at the hotel, Stanusic expected much more than he saw; the furniture seemed very cheap and modest. He contacted an agent he had met on a fair and asked if there was a possibility to bid on a tender. Therefore, the company applied and won the tender. However, they needed to bring Americans to Djakovo to sign an agreement.
‘’These Americans never imported anything from Europe, but mainly from the Middle East. I do not know what they expected to find here, but when they saw our company, our factory, our showroom and our business approach, they were more than surprised’’, commented Stanusic.
The Ancona Group ltd has 120 employees with 12,000 squares metres of internal space and 25,000 square metres of factory area. Around 70 percent of the company’s total income comes from exports. Their partners and clients are some of the famous hotels and resorts companies such as Radisson, Marriot, Starwood, Sheraton and Modus.