by Eric Monson
Posted 12/23/2013 12:00 am
Evo Business Environments, a contract office furniture dealership, started with an invitation from the iconic furniture maker Herman Miller.
After moving away from its company-owned dealership model, Herman Miller encouraged Chris Cerrato to buy out its Little Rock dealership.
Cerrato, then vice president of sales and marketing at Innerplan Office Interiors in North Little Rock, agreed. The 46-year old from Sherwood had been in the business for more than 20 years when he started Evo, funding the endeavor with personal financing and a bank line of credit.
Calling himself an “empty nester,” Cerrato described his decision to start Evo as looking at the rest of his career and thinking, “I can work another 10 or 15 years and retire, or do something like this and have the excitement of running my own business, and have something my sons can take over.”
He noted that family enterprises are common among furniture businesses; Herman Miller itself was family-run for much of the 20th century. In striking out on his own, Cerrato said, he leans on the lessons from his friends and associates at the Executive Networking Organization of Little Rock, a group of local business professionals.
Evo, which is considering a lease for a 2,400-SF space in the Mann building at Fourth and Main streets in downtown Little Rock, focuses on business-to-business work instead of retail. Offering products from Herman Miller and other companies, Evo can help architects and designers with their illustrations of proposed new spaces. The company’s services extend to planning furniture specifications and budgeting, as well as selling the products and installing them. Currently employing six people, Cerrato wants Evo to remain a small family business “known for doing things really, really well.”
Evo can be reached at (501) 244-9696. Its website, EvoArkansas.com, is under construction.