In order to highlight the amazing local businesses in Florida’s 47th District, the Anna For Florida campaign has launched “47 Means Business,” an ongoing blog series to spotlight local business owners in Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, and throughout the district.
Our blog digs deeper into local businesses by collaborating with business owners to showcase their success and to identify what the legislature can do to support them. Together, these profiles come together to create a larger picture of the amazing diversity and ingenuity of local business owners that Anna hopes to serve and represent in the Florida House.
Team Anna: What inspired you to start your small business?
Lori Parks: A series of magical events in 2016 led myself, a commercial cleaning business owner, and Ernesto Reyes, a flooring installation company owner, to learn and fall in love with polishing concrete. Together, we formed Floors2Finish Plus in April 2018. Polished concrete as a flooring option is currently gaining popularity for its practicality and beauty. The process takes existing concrete/terrazzo slabs and turns them into gorgeous, high-shine works of art. Not only is it a “green” process, but it saves consumers money and you’d be re-purposing something you already own, reducing waste and consumption. In the long run, our floors are durable, requiring very little maintenance and last a lifetime.
TA: What is the most exciting part about owning and operating a small businesses?
LP: Definitely freedom and flexibility in our schedule. We enjoy biking, walking, playing with our three cats, soccer, gardening, yoga, cooking, and visiting local parks. We are big believers in starting our day in ways that allow us to bring our best selves to work. Since our mornings are very precious, owning our business allows us to design our day to keeps mornings sacred.
TA: Describe a perfect day at work.
LP: A nice long walk in our lovely District 47, then visiting a homeowner/business owner who wants to take up their existing floors to put down a new floor; however, after learning about polishing their existing concrete, they’ve changed their mind. Ernesto and I are passionate about limiting waste and conserving resources, so when we can attract someone to this environmentally-friendly and stylish option, it’s a huge win!
TA: Are there any current policy issues impacting your business? If so, how?
LP: The lack of policy is what is impacting us the most right now. In Florida, almost every construction trade requires a license of the individual and, if applicable, any business entity contracting to perform work, unless exempt. Licensed contractors like us provide jobs, pay taxes, buy and lease equipment, have insurance, and purchase materials from suppliers. A slow down in business can have an adverse affect on our partners and other trades that depend on our success. Therefore, it is not surprising that unlicensed contracting in the construction industry has been the focus of intense public policy debate over the past 20 years. The lax enforcement of unlicensed contracting has drastically improved in the commercial sector, but still lags in the high-demand residential market. In turn, our businesses have struggled to compete in this uneven playing field.
TA: What could the legislature do better to help you thrive?
LP: Although many changes have come along through legislative actions and case law, more enforcement is needed to protect the interests of both local contractors and the general public. Second: a tax rebate or credit to the customer for using a local, licensed business entity. We believe that this approach would protect the customer while supporting the small business community.