Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sady Garcia, owner of Deltona Gun Exchange and serial entrepreneur, is no stranger to change and, since the age of five, has learned to adapt to his environment and see opportunities where most people don't. Garcia's father was a Major in the US ARMY. As a result, the family traveled a lot. Thirty nine countries to be exact. After leaving Puerto Rico at the age of five, Garcia lived in Spain, Germany, France, New Jersey and many other locations, before briefly moving back to Puerto Rico. Garcia's next move is what really set the stage for his entrepreneurial journey in the United States.
"I came with my grandparents to Deltona in 1964," Garcia said. "The Mackle Brothers, who developed the land around Deltona and many other parts of Florida, were selling plots of land for next to nothing. My grandfather really liked what he saw and encouraged me to buy a plot of land too. I was only 15 years old at the time. He offered to give me the down-payment, which was $300 at the time. I took him up on the offer and paid Deltona Realty $28.82 per month until it was paid. The property itself was only $1,500. Eventually I bought another property right next to my lot and built a house right in the middle of the two."
Not long after, Garcia rented a property on Doyle Road and started a plant nursery. That business flourished for six years until Garcia had enough of the snakes. As you might expect, Garcia was primed and ready to do something completely different, but equally as interesting.
"Because of my two boys, I started a collectibles store," he said. "It was a fun business to have as a single parent with two boys. They both loved coming in and eventually brought their friends over. It turned into a big hangout for playing cards and gaming. My oldest son, Sady Francisco, joined the Army and when he got out of the military, he couldn't find a job. He was a Computer and Network Engineer with a Master's Degree in IT Management. That's when the idea hit me to open a computer store. We built computers, sold computers and accessories and did repairs. Together, my son and I built that business up. We were also still running the collectibles store. Then the economy collapsed and, with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, the computer business really declined."
His youngest son, Sady Carlos, moved back to Puerto Rico. Learning from his fathers success, he opened Flaco Sound Center and grew it to become the number one car music electronics store in Puerto Rico.
After the economic downturn, Garcia continued with the computer and collectibles business, but he wasn't satisfied. He wanted something else. Most wouldn't predict his next move, but understanding Garcia's background and how he started shooting and hunting at the age of eight, would give you an idea of his next, and most recent, venture.
"I started a gun shop," he said. "We do repairs, sell new and used guns and offer concealed weapons classes. Business has been great since we first opened seven years ago. In fact, in less than a year of being open, we paid back our initial investment and increased our inventory by over 200%. We've developed an excellent reputation and we're very involved in the community. For every gun we sell, $5 goes back to local charities. We also donate a gun for raffle for the Volusia First Responders Children's Charity Inc."
Along the way, Garcia has dealt with many hurdles including a store robbery that resulted in the theft of $38,000 worth of merchandise and the Great Recession of 2008/2009. Nevertheless, he pushed through these and other challenges with the support of his two boys, by doing everything with God in mind and by drawing upon his experience dealing with people from all over the world. Looking ahead, Garcia's next venture is to put a gun range directly behind his shop.
Garcia offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Go by your gut and be sure that if you’re going to open a business, it’s not already something that exists in the same area," he said. "Start something new, but more importantly, start something that people really want. Also, location is critical. Even if it's a little more expensive, it's worth it. Lastly, give yourself plenty of time to make it and be honest with yourself and your customers along the way."
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