Computer Generated Transcript:

[00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Growth Mode Conversations Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Major, the founder of Growth Mode Technologies, your local IT department. And in a few minutes, you’re about to hear me interview a very interesting member of the community. Could be a business owner, could be an influencer, could be some guy off the street.

You’re going to have to stick around to find out. But first let’s talk a little bit about our company, Growth Mode Technologies, your local IT department. We’re a business to business technology services company that exists to make local businesses better using technology. We’re not your traditional break fix only show up when something’s wrong type of IT services company.

We are a true technology partner that’s dedicated to making your business better because we understand that our business only grows when yours does. If you’re interested in learning about how to make yourself better and potentially even save some money in the process, Visit our website at localitdepartment.

com. And now, without further ado, let’s jump into the interview.

this is a cool guy I’ve [00:01:00] met recently. And he was very eager to come on and talk and tell us all about what he’s got going on. I gotta tell you, on this show, one of the things that I do is I ask the guest to introduce themself. So without further ado, tell folks who you are, what you do.

Okay. Hello guys. My name is Abel, but before I say anything, let me just tell you, this guy has super powers. Let me tell you, the other day I was having some computer issues and I reached out to Matt and he gave me the best advice. Any I. T. Person would ever tell you it’s give it a full shutdown. Now I’m no it person, but I already done a full shutdown.

Like I’ve done my basic troubleshooting and I reached out to him when I couldn’t figure it out myself. And he goes, trust me, give it another full short shutdown. And guys, I did it. And as soon as the computer booted up, it was working like new. And I’m like, I don’t know what kind of witchcraft you’re on, Matt.

But it’s that it guy magic, you know, that’s just how it goes. [00:02:00] Give it that reboot. And sometimes even when you give it that reboot, it’s not going to matter until I tell you to give it that reboot. And that’s the key when he tells you to give it the reboot, because, you know, he has superpowers.

I’m telling you, I can’t explain it, but thank you, Matt. I really appreciate you. So who are you, man? What what’s your name? My name is Abel. I’m an immigrant. I was born in Cuba. I moved here when I was 14 years old. I spoke zero English. I went to Henry Gray high school and pretty much has been survival mode since that time.

I started working with Columbus bakery as a deli boy. And I feel like that was the point that forced me to speak English because I had to interact with customers before. I’m like, I can understand the language I have, you know. Somewhat good grades and I don’t have to speak to anybody, right? But when I started to work in customer service, I was forced to speak to customers.

And I feel like that’s when the language really started to to come out. And from there I started working as a operator at Enron, which is now known as CTM [00:03:00] technologies. And I worked in the chemical department working just making circuit boards, which was pretty fun. And I was always, a people person.

And I always wanted to go back to that, you know, small family owned business and fast forward seven years. Now I own Bayberry uniforms in Liverpool, which is a small family business and we deal mostly with doctors and nurses that, you know, have uniforms requirements and we fulfill those needs. Wow.

That’s incredible. So how did you come to the uniform business? Was it one that you just. There was an opportunity because the business was for sale. Is that kind of how you got into it? Or pretty much. I always thought that I was going to be doing something with real estate cause I’m involved in real estate.

I work with Gloria and I’ve been our licensed real estate agent for over three years now. And I always thought that my future was going to be a real estate company. Maybe a management company or something of that sort, but the opportunity did present itself. And, you know, I’ve always been a true believer in local businesses and the growth [00:04:00] that you can achieve as a local business here in Syracuse.

And I just put all my X in a basket and went all in. So if you don’t mind, I’d love to, to ask you a little bit more about this because this is something that I think is very common and I don’t know that folks are talking about this a lot. So there are a ton of local mom and pop businesses where these folks are, who’ve owned it for sometimes generations, sometimes just all of their life, but decades, they’re ready to retire.

And in some cases, maybe they want to sell. In other cases, they’re just going to shut it down. That’s it. You know, and there’s a business with value there if somebody’s willing to jump in. So let me ask you, what kind of, what was some of your criteria? What made you think just as a business, this is one that, that kind of fit for you, if you don’t mind.

Sure. So that’s a great question, by the way. And you’re right. There are a lot of businesses for sale out there, mom and pops, and people don’t realize that you don’t have to start a business from scratch. You [00:05:00] can continue on the legacy that somebody already. And there’s tons of opportunities out there.

And just like you can shop for a house, you can shop for a business and learn more about what the business is all about. And to see if there’s value there. Now we know with COVID, what was an essential, we learned what’s an essential business and what’s not an essential business. Think about all the businesses that closed.

Thank to, thanks to what happened during the pandemic. Right now. Healthcare is an essential business. And this being a provider of healthcare, I’m like, okay, so this is pretty much recession proof. Sure. It’s been around since 1981, going on the third generation of owners. Oh, wow. And it just made sense.

Sure. And that was the logic behind it. And that’s why I. I went all in without hesitation because I’m like, we are doing something for our community. We grow based on word of mouth. I, right now we don’t spend any money on marketing and the previous owner did not spend any money on marketing either.

It’s always been the positive feedback from past clients. And you know, I think that’s what makes a good business [00:06:00] model, right? There’s a need. Can fulfill that need. And during COVID, I mean, I’m sure your business experienced tremendous growth as well, because everybody went home now, everybody needs that support from home that they don’t have when they’re at work.

No, that’s absolutely it. It’s incredible. The things that kind of come and go because of that, but there’s a lot of play. Like you said, that kind of showed you I really kind of liked that perspective. The things that are sort of, I don’t know if you say recession proof but necessary kind of industries and things you don’t think of.

And like I said, there’s a lot of folks man, I’m going to invest in Bitcoin or I’m going to invent the next drone or the killer app. And this guy’s like, Hey, there’s a uniform store. And it’s a profitable business and it creates jobs in the community. And it’s, you know, it’s kind of low key, sort of speak businesses that are necessary every day, every nurse and doctor that you see, they got to get that outfit somewhere.

Right. Exactly. They can’t only buy it at Halloween. You know, and you know that. [00:07:00] Now that we’re meeting so many incredible people through the group that profound that we’re both members that sometimes is the boring businesses. Like you’re saying, it’s the basics needs that you need on a daily basis that actually provide the growth for you to do the things that you actually love to be.

Sure. Absolutely. That’s that good stable covers everything sort of foundation. I love that. So let’s talk about the business itself a little bit. Obviously you talked about the uniforms in a lot of healthcare. Is there anybody other than healthcare you typically serve other?

Industries that have uniforms, maybe that, that come into your shop. Absolutely. I want to say we’re currently 80 percent healthcare, another 10 percent restaurants and then another percent corporate, because think about it and you know, yourself, you own a company, you want to be, you want to stand out.

You want to make sure you look different from everybody else. We provide that we have embroidery in hand and in house, which is invested into. Instead of the art to had 20 needle machine that can do a thousand stitches per minute and we can do hats We can do polos. We can [00:08:00] do Wow anything you can think of anything that we can stick a needle into We can put your logo on and we understand the importance of marketing and our mission is to dress our customers with elegance and ease and we chose that mission because You know, everybody wants to look good, but it’s so difficult when you think about it, right?

When you go shopping and there’s tons of options to choose from we want to make it easy for you. So we come to you. You know, if you need to say you have 20 employees and you’re like able, I need to look for an uniform. We would actually come out, do the sizing for all your employees, you know, create a presentation, give you different styles to choose from, you know, and it’s a good, make it easy for you at the same time that we make sure that you look elegant and stand out from everybody else.

Gotcha. That’s incredible. That’s a neat service. In terms of like food service, what is it every part of it? Is it the, in the kitchen, outside the kitchen, you know, every part of it. I mean, think about it. Aprons, you know, we can put your logo on the aprons[00:09:00] the chef coats for the back of the house.

But if you’re on the front, you know, hats beanies anything that you can think of, like I said, we even do lunch bags. I just had a a job. For like 90 backpacks for a gym. The instructor wanted to give out to the students and we put the logo and the students name on the backpacks. And it was a neat little gift, you know.

And they’re carrying your logo everywhere they go. Right. Right. We did that about a year ago. We had a promotion with every laptop that we sold. You got a bag with ours and you see, I still see them all over town. Exactly. And it’s kind of cool, right? Our giant logo walking around now. But I think that’s a great, I’m a sucker for promotional items.

So I love hearing about any of that type of thing. How about you got sort of a regular storefront as well, right? I’m a nurse, I’m a doctor. I just need Something to wear. Can I walk in and grab something off the shelf sort of thing? Absolutely. We do get a lot of foot traffic. We’re located in the Bayberry Plaza in Liverpool.

That’s our main store. We have over 12 12, 000 square feet worth of clothing. [00:10:00] And it’s pretty overwhelming. I mean, that’s one of the things that a lot of people say. They walk in and they just see This massive space full of uniforms and that’s where the ease part of our mission comes from because we believe in a personalized service Like one of our employees will walk you through and help you choose from all the different options And we’re also located in near Krauss Hospital So by Varsity Pizza, all the area there in the University.

So we did get a lot of foot traffic from the hospitals there. Smaller store, but it’s convenience, right? It’s located there. We get a lot of nurses that are walking on their break and they’re going to go have lunch and they just stop in. And it’s a convenience. Totally logical. That’s great. That’s a really great way to go about it.

I love that. How about you do any online, sort of your shipping things anywhere, anything like that? We’re just starting. As you know, the importance of e commerce and those are our bigger competitors, right? Cause if you’re not online, you know, you’re eventually you’re going to lose. So we’re starting to do some online.

We have our website, [00:11:00] bayberryuniforms. com and we are able to, you know, ship and offer in store pickup too. If you say you don’t want to come out to the store and you just want to buy it online. Come pick it up on the weekend. We can do that too. I could see that. That’s kind of what I was thinking of when you mentioned you know, a location right near the hospital, if folks could just grab anything there, you know, that’s pretty neat.

Yeah. We actually saw a lot of gift cards over the Christmas month. Everybody would buy Christmas gifts and then come pick them up at the store. It’s a great little gift for somebody if you’re not sure. Cause you know, if you’re going to buy a scrub or a uniform, It’s pretty specific, but if you give them a gift card, they can use it and then themselves, they can choose whatever they want to spend it on.

That’s incredible. How about, do you get into any safety stuff? Is there any of that type of reflective or things like that for different folks that do that type of work? We have access to it. We don’t carry it in store. Like we don’t keep it in stock. Gotcha. But we definitely have access to it because a lot of the vendors that we work with have [00:12:00] access to that range of products.

That’s awesome. If they need safety reflective or fire resistant, non slip shoes, all that stuff we have access to we just don’t keep it in stock for, you know, yeah, no, that’s fair. That’s fair. I love that. What is your kind of your vision for the business? Like, where do you see it going, growing, just staying stable?

You know, what’s your kind of goal here? So our mission is to reach every area of central New York. Okay. That’s what we want to serve. We want to focus locally in central New York. Obviously we would still offer the shipping and online, but our focus is central New York. I’m a true believer in local businesses and we have an amazing community here in Syracuse that you guys don’t even have ideas.

I mean, now that we’re in profound, we’re learning about all this amazing people and all this amazing businesses that are out there that. They don’t get a lot of attention, right, because everybody’s busy, you know, doing their thing. Yeah. But I’m a true believer in, in, in where I’m From where I’m located.

Like I said, I’m an immigrant, but I fell in love with Syracuse. I’ll never [00:13:00] forget. I arrived here on October 19, 2010. And as the plane was coming down and I could see all the red and the leaves, it was like a movie. Now, think about it. You’re from the Caribbeans. You’ve never seen the snow. You’ve never seen any other season other than summer.

Yeah. Or spring. So it was beautiful. It didn’t scare you off, huh? No, I was playing on the snow on that first day of that year, 2010, and I just fell in love with the area. One of the things that I love about Syracuse and whenever I go out there, because I’ve been traveling a lot lately, is when you come back and you get off the airport and you breathe, you know, it’s a sense that it’s pure.

You know, it’s a pure air, it just feels great, it feels like home. And that’s my mission, that’s my vision. Focus on home, support the folks that live here and yeah, that’s where I see touching every single little place that Central New York borders cover. So when you say that, are you saying you can put some actual physical locations you think in other [00:14:00] parts of the area?

That’s part of it. That’s part of it too. I would definitely look into expanding into other areas in Central New York, but you know, when I say serving, I mean like actually going there, I currently serve a couple places in Utica. Geneva and Cortland. So we’re slowly starting to grow and just outside of the and that’s like you mentioned you can go to them so you don’t necessarily need to Open up a shop you bring it to them.

Anyway, so yeah, we just did a nursing home and we brought literally 26 racks of clothing. It was a 26 foot truck that we loaded with Just about anything you can think of shoes, uniforms, lab coats, and we brought it to to a nursing home for the locals to, to shop there. And that’s where the ease comes from, right?

We’ll make it easy for you. We’ll still make sure that you look elegant and stand out from everybody else, but we’ll make it easy. We’ll come to you. That’s awesome. That is really cool, man. Let’s tell people let’s fix your mic first, because this thing is goofy. Yeah, I know it’s the excitement, you know, that’s There we go, I think we [00:15:00] got it.

Perfect. New mic stand jitters. Ha! So you’ve been telling us a little bit about the business, a little bit about, you know, different passions. You’re in real estate. What do you do for fun outside of this stuff for fun? That’s a great question. I do find enjoyment in everything that I do. I believe that.

You can have fun in business. I believe that, you know, business doesn’t have to be this boring thing that you get up every day and you’re like you know, that’s why I got out of the corporate America. Cause I was getting up every morning like in my cubicle, in my office, it’s like kind of boring, no purpose in life.

But you can have fun in business. Now, as far as outside of that, I do love music. I play multiple instruments. Oh, wow. And that is a passion of mine. So I feel like that’s an international. Language. 100%. Through music you can speak to anybody and you can convey those feelings and I feel like through music I can do that.

I produce, I play a lot of video games, I do content creation online as a side business too. So for fun, that and then in [00:16:00] the summer I do play softball. I love softball. We have a softball league and I, I like sports. So anything that gets my adrenaline going, you know, I did skydiving last year. That’s incredible.

I say that. And you can put this in a clip. Greatness awaits beyond the gates of fear. And I’m afraid of heights. That is the truth of it. And I push myself to do it. I’m like, well, if you’re going to go all in. And if you can jump out of an airplane, you can do anything in life. I guess so, man.

He’s not kidding when he says go all in. That’s incredible. I love that. That is really cool. Still processing. Yeah, I know. It’s a weird way to go in life, guys. But when you think about it I’m an immigrant. I come from a Spanish spoken country. You come to America, Syracuse, our Spanish community, it’s not big.

And when I moved here, I didn’t know anybody. Sure. So you have to activate survival mode, you know, is that fight or flight mode that everybody has a choice, [00:17:00] whether it’s in a relationship, whether it’s in business, in any area of your life, you can always activate the fight or flight. Sure. And what’s the easy route?

I’m out. You know, I’m not going to do it. But if you actually push yourself and fight and activate that fight mode and survival mode, you’d be amazed of the things that you can actually accomplish. Because I’m afraid of heights and I jumped out of an airplane. And my wife reminds me that every time that things get hard and I’m like, I just want to quit.

Why did I ever do this? You know, this was a bad idea. She goes. He jumped out of an airplane. You can do this. So it’s a constant reminder. I love that man that is real people talk about, you know, pushing themselves past their boundaries. You literally there’s no turning back at that But did you enjoy it that once it happened?

I loved it man. There’s is no Explanation to the feeling that you have. Is that you strapped to a guy? Yeah, you have an instructor, so it’s like, I always compared it to when I was I have three kids. Huh. And the first [00:18:00] two I had doctors do it. The third one, I did it myself. Wow. And I’ll give you a little bit of that story later.

But when you have professionals taking care of all the work. Sure. There is no reason for you to worry, right? Because you have somebody that knows what they’re doing, taking care of you. And here’s a tip for you guys. When I went up there, as the airplane was going up, and I mean, this airplane is small.

I mean, you have room for the pilot, you have room for you, the instructor, and then for another person and another instructor. So there’s like barely any room. And I’m like this, right next to the pilot right here. And the door kind of opens like a Tesla, like that, and that’s where you jump out. And there was a gap.

It was like a triangle. And you can actually see down. And what I did is that I would actually be looking down. The whole time until they open the door. That’s what they call the oh shit moment. Yeah. So my view didn’t change because I was already looking down the whole time. So when the door opened, it was just like the same view.

You were prepared. There was no shock, but it was a great [00:19:00] experience. I mean, the moment that you start going down I’ve made a video of it and you can just see me smiling. I didn’t even know I was smiling, but you know, it just feels amazing. And who, you know, who would have thought that I was afraid of heights and I enjoyed.

That the maximum height experience. That’s awesome. And I’d love to hear stories like that. That is just, that is so cool. We’re almost out of time, but I want to just ask it. What’s next for you? What should people think about able doing in the future. That’s a great question, man. And who knows what the future holds right now I’m focused on the business.

You know, I want to grow it. Like I said, I want to continue that vision of touching every single county and city in the greater Syracuse area now upstate New York. I’ll be focused on that. I got social media channels that I do for fun, where I do Spanish accents. Oh, that’s great. And I’ve been able to connect with so many great people from different countries and I’ve been traveling a lot.

So what’s next? Who knows? I didn’t know I was going to be in the uniform business. Sure. The way I look at it [00:20:00] is you have to be ready for when opportunities present themselves. One of the things that my, my mentor, Gloria always told me is there’s no such thing as luck. Yeah. You know, people say, Oh, he just got lucky.

And I’m like, listen. It’s all good. I’m an immigrant that came here with only, like, only wearing the clothes that he had on. I didn’t bring anything other than myself and a positive attitude. That’s incredible. If I was able to, you know, be a business owner at 28, you know, there’s no reason why you cannot be a business owner.

It’s just a mentality. Sure. And when she told me, Abel, there’s not such thing as It’s luck. It’s only opportunities and a prepared person. So if there’s an opportunity and you’re prepared, you better take that opportunity and run with it. Right. Because if you let it go, it’s never coming back. That’s very much the case.

I love that. Seize the day. Seize the day. I guess would be the best way to put it. I love that. If folks want to check out your business, support it, refer folks that are your target clients, what’s the best [00:21:00] way to go? What’s your best way? You can find us on Facebook as Bay uniforms and shoe. You can find us on Google.

They bury uniforms on shoe. Our website is bayberryuniforms. com. My phone number is 3 1 5 5 6 5 8 4 8 4. I’m a true believer in personal relationships. You know, I. Just have a conversation. What are your needs? Because if I understand your needs, then I know how to serve you better. But you can always send stuff send Send folks to our physical locations and we’ll take care of them.

And is it just out of curiosity to kind of combine the typical store stuff in the embroidery is just about anything in your shop, something that you can put a custom logo on? Just about anything. And you can actually bring your own. We do have a lot of clients. We have no minimum requirements.

Again, we believe in making it easy for everybody. Over in Christmas, we did a lot of stockings. You know, sometimes you want to do a personal light gift for your significant other. Sure. You know, we’re not going to have you come in and say, Oh, you have to buy at least 15. Right. No. You bring your own and we’ll just charge you for the embroidery service.

That’s [00:22:00] incredible. We love it. Abel, it’s really been a joy to have you here on the Growth Mode Conversations podcast. You know, I’m an IT guy. That’s what we do. But the reason I do this type of podcast is there’s so many other really interesting businesses and so many lessons just in business that are great for me and great for everybody.

And you have no shortage of those who we will definitely have you back again if we can steal you away from the store for for a little while. But Thank you again, my friend, and thank you to everybody who’s joined us on the podcast. We will see you on the next one. Thank you, Matt. I really appreciate it.