Joseph Scaretta is the Co-founder and CEO of Empire Facilities Management Group. With more than 13 years of industry experience, Joseph has honed his expertise in retail store operations, facilities management, marketing, customer service solutions, retail merchandising, and space planning.
Empire Facilities Management Group (Empire), Inc. is an industry-leading retail, restaurant, and commercial facilities maintenance and management company offering holistic single-source facilities solutions across the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Virgin Islands. Specialty services include capital projects, nationwide rollouts and retrofits, repair and maintenance, graphic installation, and energy reduction.
MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit? What was your first business and how did it turn out?
Joseph: Yes, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My entrepreneurial spirit was present even during childhood. I spent much of my time, especially during summer vacation, working for my father’s company. I would do tasks such as sweeping, cleaning, and customer mailings. I began to try and find more efficient ways to complete tasks, and then I would ask for additional responsibilities. This mindset continued as I began my career in retail. I would embrace my store and treat it as if I were the CEO of the area. I began looking at a store’s business model and thinking, “If they did it this way, it would be better.” This foresight allowed me to introduce new ways to better a store’s products and service offerings. These first retail positions were a great testing ground for my entrepreneurial spirit. I try to engrain this same thinking in my company and its culture.
When reflecting about my entrepreneurial spirit, it brought to mind that I wrote my first business plan when I was in high school. It was a full service hockey rink and sports center. I planned the sports and events as well as incorporated vendor marketing to offset the overhead expenses associated with the rink, allowing any profit to be pure profit.
Empire Facilities Management Group is the first company that my partners, Moses Carrasco and Robert A. Scaretta, have launched. We have been in business for almost a decade, servicing the North America real estate portfolios of Fortune 500 companies.
MO: How do you regularly exceed your client’s expectations?
Joseph: There are two keys to exceeding client expectations: (1) listen to your client and (2) listen to your employees. I really focus on listening to our clients, always making myself available for a call or in-person meeting. We have a customer centric attitude that holds true for every member of our company.
Also, we believe that happy employees are productive employees. Coming from corporate America, I have witnessed the disconnect between those in the corner office and those out in the field. Our management team keeps an open door policy, encouraging our team members to always approach us with new ideas, process improvements, etc. By staying engaged with our employees, we continue to stay engaged with our customers, their needs and pain points, allowing us to turn a client’s pain point into an opportunity to exceed their expectations.
MO: Can you tell our readers about how you’re planning to host your first Entrepreneur Challenge this August? Where did the idea come from and what are your expectations for the event?
Joseph: We are truly excited to rollout our inaugural Long Island Young Entrepreneur Challenge this August. The idea for the event came to me as I read entrepreneur trade publications and realized that there is very limited support for entrepreneurs who have an idea and want to develop that idea. When budding entrepreneurs seek help, they are often blinded with paperwork or pay far too much to an angel investor to then they only maintain minimal ownership in their new company – to the point where they begin to question if it’s worth it.
The Long Island Young Entrepreneur Challenge is open to individuals 17-22 year of age who either reside on Long Island or attend an accredited Long Island college or university. Entrants have the opportunity to win $10,000 in start-up funding and mentorship. We expect that we will help several young entrepreneurs bring their business idea from concept to start-up. We are fortunate that Capital One Bank is co-sponsoring the Challenge.
MO: Empire has earned several prestigious service awards from clients including Sprint and Guess Retail. What award or accolade has been the most meaningful to receive?
Joseph: Each award our team receives is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of every member of our team. Daily we do our jobs without expectation of acknowledgment, yet we do take pride in receiving such accolades from our esteemed clients. We celebrate our successes’ as a team, yet still continue to look for opportunities to improve customer service.
MO: What inspired you to increase the Empire’s social responsibility efforts?
Joseph: Over the past two years, we have begun to increase our social responsibility efforts as social responsibility is very important to our company for several reasons. At Empire, we believe that as a company becomes successful it is important to remember where you came from. My partners and I, as well as our staff, worked very hard to grow our company from start-up to a multi-million business. We are proud of our success and want to help others as they blaze the entrepreneurial trail. Also, I had several mentors along the way, and I would like to give back by mentoring others as they grow their business.
Additionally, I believe that without a strong community there is not a strong company. Social responsibility should be an inherent core value in every company. Entrepreneurs should actively seek opportunities to give back to our local communities. I believe that in order to do well, you must first do good – so be socially responsible and do good in your local communities.
MO: I love your belief that you should ‘always set your goals high enough so you never reach them.’ What kind of unreachable goals have you set for yourself?
Joseph: Thanks for asking! Following are my unreachable goals:
Become the single source facilities management company of choice for all retailers, commercial, banks, and restaurants.
Expand our company to include new international operations and deliverables.
Grow the company to revenues reaching $500 million USD.
Be appointed to Forbe’s list of “The World’s Most Powerful People.”
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