GEORGETOWN, Guyana, October 6, 2020: In keeping with the decade-long call for value added products to be manufactured locally, Guyanese businessman Andre Cummings has taken his lumber-export business further by offering enhanced, ‘exotic’ flooring, which he says increases his earnings from a product by fifteen times what he would have gotten without processing.
Mr. Andre Cummings is the Chief Executive Officer of ‘Floor It Guyana’ and ‘ Hardware Solutions Depot’ and described his businesses as ‘Lifestyle Businesses’ which go above the ordinary, setting the bar of quality at peak point.
“Floor It Guyana is mainly in the lifestyle business in the sense that we provide exotic hardwood flooring to our clients. Apart from hardwood floorings, we provide kitchen cabinets and closets and hardwood doors. And these really are for clients who are very discerning and want something to be different from everyone else,” he proudly shared.
‘Floor It Guyana’ falls under the umbrella of its parent company, ‘Cummings Wood Products’. While ‘Floor It’ began operations in 2014, the parent company was established in 2008. “We started in 2008, actually, exporting hardwood lumber to Trinidad only at that time and then we started to increase our market reach over the years into most Caribbean Islands, also into the U.S and New Zealand,” the CEO explained. However, seeing the demand for quality flooring locally, the businessman seized the business opportunity and made the investment, reflecting, “…because of the local demand for a proper Flooring–we are talking about Kiln-Dried flooring–and also to offer installation services, that’s when in 2007 the idea came and Floor It came into being.”
In terms of his business’ move to introduce value-added products, he said, “It has been in keeping with calls from Government to really focus on more value-added. So look, for example, if you export a log as against if you process it locally and provide a really good product, you increase the value by about 15 times and also you create more jobs for Guyanese so it is really in keeping with the call from Government to be involved in tertiary processing- value added.”
After 12 years as a businessman, Mr. Cummings saw another opportunity–growth. Growth, not only for his business, but for himself–his leadership and management skills. In 2016, he got connected with ActionCOACH Guyana, a business coaching firm consisting of a Certified Business Coaching Team who help business owners from all industries to push their businesses to meet their full potential.
He reminisced, “What drew me to ActionCOACH is…they speak about getting better at business, they speak about creating a profitable enterprise that works without you. And if you look at the testimonials that ActionCOACH has, many, many businesses–Small, Medium and Large –will talk about the development and how working with ActionCOACH changed their business from the ordinary to the extraordinary.” The results were rewarding. “Over the years, my business has grown tremendously. Not only my business but my personal life as well,” he said.
He spoke to the benefits of furthering his training and education in business, even after over a decade of being a businessman, saying, “Having an ActionCOACH, they really ask you the right questions to bring out the ideas in you and of course I see myself and the business growing exponentially and as the years roll on, increasing our product line, increasing our market reach and really standing above all others in the industry. And with the help of ActionCOACH, that is very, very possible because you are being held accountable, you are being taught new strategies and ActionCOACH is an international company so the ideas and the systems that you are exposed to are not just local but also from an international standpoint where businesses are concerned.”
True to his vision of “growing exponentially,” two months ago, ‘Hardware Solutions Depot’ began operations. “This company was mainly started to introduce our products to our valued clients, and there again we look for brands that are aligned with our philosophy in terms of customer satisfaction and product differentiation,” he disclosed. The business is the distributor of Domus products– uPVC windows and doors. “We’ve been branching into other products like granite countertops and high-end door locks,” he also shared, adding, “So, we have really positioned ourselves to serve a particular market that really, as I mentioned, wants to be different from the average.”
Because of the nature of his business, Mr. Cummings is giving back to his country–not just with investment, directly–but he is creating employment for Guyanese. He goes a step further, taking every opportunity to give back to vulnerable groups, his most recent initiative being donations to a back-to-school drive for a hinterland community. This is not just aimed at giving back, but to also motivate his employees.
He said, “Corporate Social Responsibility is something that’s very, very important, not just that it serves the community but it also serves the team members in that you don’t just have stable jobs and are well paid, but you also get a sense of purpose and reason for being successful at what you’re doing.”