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Suspended from the ceiling in the center of the world’s largest toy store---the Toy’s R Us in New York’s Times Square---is a multi-venue apparatus with movable panels that allows for dynamic use of lighting, an open or closed environment and acoustic separation for events ranging from children’s birthday parties to evening cocktail receptions. It is just one example one of the innovative and beautiful designs produced by Manhattan’s Kenny & Khan, Inc. architectural firm.
Kenny & Khan was founded in 2002 by partners Rolando Kenny and Indian-American Khalida Khan who had worked together for four years at SBLM Architects before they started their own architectural planning and design firm. The firm specializes in interior and exterior designs of educational and government projects requiring strict compliance with the city’s and state’s myriad of construction laws.
The company’s institutional work ranges from K-12 public and private schools to secondary schools. The company has a portfolio of completed work all around the city including the rehabilitation of the Bedford Park Subway Station in the Bronx, the renovation of the auditorium of PS157 in Rego Park, Queens, the athle tic fields at Manhattan’s Pier 40 and the alteration of U.S. Court Offices in the Woolworth Building to name a few.
Prior to launching their business Kenny and Khan attended Pace University’s Small Business Development Center monthly business planning workshops in order to draft their business plan. They also took advantage of the expertise of SBDC business counselor, Ruth Wan, to fine-tune financial projections and determine their capital needs for a loan application package. Their comprehensive loan application helped Kenny and Khan secure a $150,000 working capital loan in 2002 from HSBC that was guarantied by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The partners had injected $50,000 of their own money as part of the loan deal.
Kenny and Khan didn’t draw salaries for the first three months of operation, but had planned for that income shortfall in their original business plan. By their second year, they were doing well enough to bring on an employee. With their continued success they brought on additional staff in their third and fourth years, and are looking to add more this year. Revenues increased by 10 percent in each of those years and the company is now working on 30 different projects.
According to Khan, “The SBA made it possible to begin a small journey into our future.” “We anticipate working with the SBA as we continue to grow,” added Kenny.
-by DeAnn Misilmeri