Mercedes LaPorta has grown a $25-million-a-year supply enterprise after starting out selling lamps to stores along Bird Road
For just shy of three decades, Mercedes LaPorta has run Miami-based Mercedes Electric Supply, growing the business from a 1,000-square-foot warehouse of lamps to a 30,000-square-foot headquarters housing everything from wiring to distribution equipment.
Mercedes Electric has touched many Miami landmarks, including American Airlines Arena, Miami International Airport and Brickell Avenue skyscrapers.
The business did $25 million in sales last year and is ahead this year about 8%. Ms. LaPorta attributes the growth to her diversified business model and the company's growing "green" program.
A successful female business owner, she devotes spare time to mentoring those who hope to achieve the same, playing an active role in the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and its local affiliate. With no plans to sell her venture, Ms. LaPorta foresees continued growth.
Her advice to others looking to build a business from the ground up: "Never take on a contract that's bigger than you've ever had without having the proper infrastructure in place for it." She was interviewed at the Mercedes Electric Supply offices and warehouse by Miami Today staff writer Risa Polansky.
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