Gary Mindel, Color Art
Interiors solutions for work environments
Marquette University (BS BA), St. Louis University (MBA)
Wife, Mary. Daughters, Caitlin, Kelly. Son in Law, Matt. Grandkids Oliver and Evelyn
What is your mission?
Color Art creates and provides the best places for people to do their best work. We do this through understanding and leading practices in connecting architecture, technology, furniture, and services for healthcare, education, corporate and large venue environments.
What was your first job?
I started my first job at a golf club when I was 12. I worked in the rack room cleaning clubs and taking care of member needs. I was paid the minimum wage of $1.25, plus tips. I usually had to be there at 6:15 a.m. to open the shop and we would not close until dusk which, in Wisconsin, could be as late as 9 p.m. so that meant there were many times I was working 14 hour days. (laughs) There were probably child labor laws back then but apparently the golf industry did not subscribe to those. I was a young golfer at the time so it was a ton of fun hanging around golf professionals and other successful people to tap their brains about all kinds of things.
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
Last year we made an investment in our branding, showroom and people. All three of these areas were critical to building our focus for the future and I am pleased to say these initiatives have been successful beyond our wildest. Along with that, we began focusing on a new division, now called Color Art Sports. A number of years ago we recognized that professional sports franchises in particular, were investing in stadiums. So we pursued that market with a great deal of success. We have had the opportunity to work with teams like the New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Redwings, Orlando Magic and a variety of others, including universities.
Who is your industry role model?
I do not know if I would necessarily have one individual. Rather I would say I look to the leaders of organizations who recognize that people are their most important asset. The leaders who understand that people matter also recognize that space can be a tool to develop and build a successful organization. We are blessed in St. Louis to have many leaders who are conscious of the value of their people and recognize the sheer power that space can have for them and therefore their clients.
How do you try to differentiate your business from others in your industry?
Well that is a short answer that could turn into a long one so I am going to keep it brief. At the end of the day, we sell products and services like everyone else but what truly differentiates Color Art is our ability to bring knowledge, insights, research, case studies, all of those things, to organizations that are looking to evolve. We make the investment in our people so they can acquire knowledge and apply it intelligently to the spaces our clients are trying to create.
What best advice would you share with new entrepreneurs?
I do not know that this is particularly innovative but I would encourage entrepreneurs to surround themselves with bright people, and not necessarily only those in their organizations. St. Louis is blessed with an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is just incredible. Entrepreneurs have access to many blossoming startup spaces like TRex, Cortex, and 39 North in addition to a staggering amount of venture capital, specifically in the St. Louis market. There are also mentoring organizations, like ITEN, that help new businesses with growth, marketing, selling, finances. It is so important that entrepreneurs reach out, acquire knowledge, and network like crazy because it is unlikely that one individual, or one team, will have all the disciplines they need to get a business off the ground.
Submitted 1 years 187 days ago