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Flooring Company has No Ceiling for Success

Milton Herrera, owner of Milherton Commercial Flooring of Fairview, NJ

FAIRVIEW, NJ---As far as Milton Herrera is concerned, when it comes to success his flooring company has no ceiling.  Herrera is the owner of Milherton Commercial Flooring a Fairview–based company that specializes in supplying and installing commercial flooring to customers in the New York metropolitan area.

For Herrera, his journey to entrepreneurship started back when he was a young boy growing up in El Salvador.  “I inherited my entrepreneurial spirit from my grandmother,” said Herrera.  “She taught me never to make excuses and that you can basically survive with anything you can imagine, create or fix.  I remember going into the woods and chopping trees and selling the wood.”

When he immigrated into the United States 14 years ago at the age of 23, he brought that same entrepreneurial spirit with him. “I came here not knowing how to speak a word of English, but that didn’t deter me from pursuing my dream of owning a business.”

He started working for a flooring company collecting the flooring scraps.  He then graduated to a helper, then to technician and eventually becoming an estimator.  By 2009, he left his job and did research on starting his own business.   “I basically started as a handyman at first, because I had very little money to start.  I bought a van and on Monday I was the estimator and on Wednesday I was doing a flooring installation, said Herrera.  I worked long hard hours.  My customers gave me the nickname the fireman, because I would literally come out at all hours of the night to help them.”

Eventually, Herrera began to draw a regular paycheck and began to hire more helpers.  That’s when he realized he needed some advice on managing his growth.  So he turned to America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at New Jersey City University for assistance.  The center is one of 12 located throughout New Jersey and provides entrepreneurs like Herrera the basics on managing and operating a small business. 

According to U.S. Small Business Administration New Jersey District Director Al Titone, the 12 centers receive their funding through a grant from the SBA to provide free business counseling to area entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to start or expand a small business.  In 2016, the SBA will contribute $3 million to the SBDC network headquartered in the Rutgers Business School in Newark. 
  
“When I approached the New Jersey City University SBDC, I was looking for a counselor to provide me with guidance on how to take my business to the next level,” said Herrera.  

For starters his business counselor Ryan Silvestre provided him with great advice on the business structure, organization skills, time management, delegating duties to his employees and how to become a Minority Business Enterprise in order to do business with the State of New Jersey. 

Since meeting and receiving advice from his SBDC counselor two years ago, Milherton Commercial Flooring has tripled its business.  Today, the company employs 36 people including subcontractors and has found a niche market with hospitals and schools.

“Sometimes a small business owner needs just a little guidance that helps them to take their business to new heights,” said Titone.  “That seems to be the case with Milton Herrera.  For 35 years, millions of entrepreneurs have been able to launch and grow their businesses because of the counseling they’ve received at SBDCs across the country.  Here in New Jersey, the SBDC Network does a phenomenal job that translates into great economic impact for our local economy.  Just take a look at what is taking place at Milherton Commercial Flooring; the return on investment is unquestionable.”

 “Currently we are working with 100 distributors of flooring and carpeting,” said Herrera.  “We’re working with companies like Armstrong, Mirra Mohawk, Stanton Carpet and Anderson.  Some of our clients include the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital.”

For many of the hospitals, Milherton Flooring Company is providing flooring installations for operating rooms.  “This is a specialty that we have developed,” said Herrera.  “You basically have to take great measures and care to make certain that the operating room is the way you found it.  That means utilizing certain practices that ensure the room is sterile after a job is complete.”

In addition to the commercial side, Herrera started FloorExchange.com in 2014 for residential clients. “We started this with the idea of working with homeowners, but keeping it separate from Milherton Commercial Flooring,” said Herrera. “We are excited about this venture and the growth it will bring.  For now we are concentrating on a 50 mile radius, but eventually we would like to bring this national by franchising the concept.”  

“We have a plan and part of that plan is to invest in our employees,” said Herrera.  “We have health coverage, we have a 401 K plan and if one of my employees wants to branch out on their own, I want to help them,” said Herrera. 

“Soon we are going to unionize and that will help the employees and it will help the company to take on more work,” he added. “It’s in the process and we are excited about that development.  We even have a credit union, where we lend money to the employees with no interest.  I want to see my employees better themselves and I want to help teach them financial literacy and how to save their money so they can become homeowners.”

“I like to believe in things that I don’t see,” said Herrera. “I don’t see it, but I believe it.  I do know that it feels like I’m on an open highway driving toward that American dream.”

Not bad for an owner of a flooring company who has no ceiling when it comes to success.