Cindy Googins, owner of Recycled Plastics Factory, comes from a family of entrepreneurs, but has come to her current venture somewhat accidentally.
"I was managing 20 auto body repair shops that my family owned and we acquired the Recycled Plastic Factory business through a real estate transaction when the owners decided to retire," she explained. "We acquired the real estate only to resell it, but when I looked at the business's financials, I decided it looked like a viable business especially in light of the changes in consumer views and demand I could see. Since we had the equipment and commercial building already, we just kept on going."
Recycled Plastics Factory manufactures plastic lumber from recycled plastics in traditional lumber sizes and also makes site furnishing such as picnic tables, waste receptacles, benches and bike racks. Googin's astute analysis of the company's underlying financials and market position allowed her to continue a business that otherwise would not have survived the retirement of its founders.
"The previous owners had not put much into marketing and had a whole line of outdoor furnishing they weren't selling much of because they were primarily a lumber business. I acquired a contract with the State of Florida put the company in front of purchasers throughout the State so we could market to schools and parks and recreation departments during the Great Recession when many of our marine customer were going out of business. Sales were 80 percent lumber and 20 percent furnishings when we acquired the company and we've changed it to a 50/50 mix allows us to market products to different segments and provides us more stability."
Googins' advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to be courageous in facing challenges and continuing to move forward. "You can't be afraid," she said. "There's always going to be challenges but you have to enjoy learning and realize that you'll have lots of small and maybe big failures along the way. As long as you can see your end goal and make positive steps towards doing that, don't let the small bumps deter you from your goal."