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Office Furniture Solutions Helps Companies Fulfill their Furniture Needs

March 29, 2024 News

Steve Baricko has had many titles in many careers, but he’s singularly focused on one these days: president and chief marketing officer of the disabled-veteran owned Office Furniture Solutions of Tampa. 

The Ybor City company sells commercial office furniture — everything from adjustable height desks and chairs to lounge and lobby furniture — to governments, school districts and more. It also helps adapt workplaces for safety. 

Baricko said he “fell into” the office furniture business, then was “brought back to solve some needs of friends and school districts.” 

He likes working with companies in Polk County. “We are here to help. We have uncommon resources that benefit companies and allow them to save money on environments and furnishings, giving them the ability to spend more on their employees.” 

His favorite project in Polk County? “Sunbelt/UFP Industries in Bartow so far,” he said. “They are a great company with amazing people working with them.”   

The company has a buying contract in place for government jobs, so he extends those deep discounts to private veteran-owned businesses, he said. 

The Future for Office Furniture Solutions

Baricko said he’s very proud of the fact “the business has funded itself since August 2022. This has been accomplished without any SBA or private loans,” he said. 2023 was a good year. 

The future looks bright. “We continue to grow through our relationships, reputation and organically. I look forward to adding more staff this year and helping new and current businesses and community partners grow as well.” 

While many people will sit back and wait to see what happens with the 2024 elections, he sees an opportunity, he said. “We will not sit idly by. I feel very passionately that with any kind of adversity there is opportunity. And I strongly believe Made in America is becoming so much more important. Keeping all Americans working is key to our country’s success, all issues aside. The citizens of this great nation are and will come together as one and will support one another to continue to grow this great nation of ours. 2024 is going to be phenomenal, not just for OFS of Tampa but for all.”  

Office Furniture Solutions’ History

Baricko compares Office Furniture Solutions (OFS) to the rings of a tree. 

“As a tree grows and matures, the outer rings become the inner rings; every year they get closer and tighter, allowing new ones to form,” he said. “Those rings will be tested with many issues. Those rings also become more resilient with the years. Just like life, we get tested, and how we handle things helps create our rings. As the years go by, our rings become inner rings and get tighter and tougher with the tests we face, all the while allowing for growth and new rings to form. This is our approach to running this relationship-based business. We will be tested, learn from these tests and allow for growth and new relationships. This will allow for our maturity and ever-lasting commitment to our community and its partners. We are a tree, and as such we will grow through both opportunities and adversities.” 

The rings started with Lise Wagner, who started OFS of Pompano 12 years ago. When she married Eric Weaver, a disabled veteran, they opened a second location in Miami with a partner, creating OFS of Miami. 

Before he owned a restaurant and food trucks, he was a partner with a manufacturing import company that focused on office furnishings. “Lise and Eric were supporting clients, and that is how we met.” 

That started a relationship built on trust and commitment, he said. He used his experience, which included access to 270 dealers nationwide and getting to know the “secret sauce” that made them successful, to envision a future working with Wagner and Weaver.  

“Having very extensive experience with the Chinese import market I knew there would be a huge calling for domestic furnishings post-COVID,” Baricko said. “With businesses redefining themselves and using office space to entice workers I foresaw a change within our industry. Companies are no longer just focused on the value of Asian import furnishing but more focused on sustainable domestic products.”  

He wrote a business plan that revolved around “Made in the USA,” focusing on the manufacturers he would offer and increasing his “knowledge and awareness of doing business with the government on all levels. I met with school districts, government agencies, and local civic groups. After speaking with them I formulated a plan of attack.” 

His plan included getting these certificates: 

  • Veteran-owned business 
  • Disabled veteran-owned business 
  • HUBZone Business. Ybor City is such a zone, which is a U.S. Small Business Administration program for small companies that operate and employ people in historically under-utilized business zones. 
  • OSD Certificate. The company got the Office of Supplier Diversity certificate from the state for being a veteran/disabled veteran-owned business. 

“Today, we service many Veterans Administration locations, 14 school districts, the Department of Defense, along with state and local agencies,” he said. “With this focus it allows us to work with clients that we believe in, we ask their story and learn what and how they do what they do, and then make a well-educated decision to partner with them or help them go in a different direction.”  

He’s grateful for his relationship with the couple. “I hold integrity high when it comes to core values of people, and Lise and Eric take top honors in that area.” 

OFS just started its third year in business and is doing well, Baricko said. “We look forward to working with Polk companies and are very excited for what the future holds.” 

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