Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Flaks.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Gary. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
10 years ago, I moved with my family from Johannesburg, South Africa to New Jersey for a corporate opportunity. The north east was a tough transition in terms of lifestyle and climate so in 2013 we decided to move to Atlanta. Atlanta offers more of the outdoor lifestyle that we enjoyed growing up in South Africa. We really miss the experiences we had in South Africa, going on Safaris and spending so much time in the great outdoors. In 2016, I was introduced to the chairman and CEO of The Canvas and Tent group, the manufacturer of the most incredible canvas tents in the world, under the Bushtec Adventure brand. Knowing that there is a huge trend in the USA towards outdoor activities and that there is a hole in the market for product of this quality, launching Bushtec here was a no brainer. I had proudly developed my Georgia company with great success, getting our products listed with many of the biggest national retailers. The introduction of Bushtec Adventure started at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City in August 2016 and was quick and smooth. The buyers at Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Dick’s Sporting goods were unanimous in their view that our canvas was unlike anything you find in the USA. The rest is history as I introduced the best of Africa to the USA market. We are excited to make our tents, the tents of choice across the camping, conservation and luxury hospitality industries throughout the country.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Our road has been generally smooth as our product is a unique, premium product that has been embraced by the industry. Our quality is unmatched here in the USA. The challenge has been the same as with many new brand introductions. A lot of capital is needed to market the brand and create brand recognition.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Bushtec Adventure – what should we know?
We are a very proud Atlanta company that has developed at a fast pace and has seen some great early success. We have sold a water filtration product over the last few years, recently developing our own VitaFilta brand and now adding Bushtec Adventure to our mix. Our anticipated growth will allow us to create more jobs and hopefully soon bring some of our production to the city of Atlanta.
Our state of the art South African factory has been in operation for over 50 years and has won many awards including the exporter of the year award. We are so proud to open our doors to the USA market in Atlanta. We have a 5000-sq. ft. office and warehouse in Roswell where our small team focus on providing great service to our growing customer base. We will outgrow this space by end of 2017 at which time we plan to open a retail showroom. We also are in the process of creating a permanent display at Lake Lanier.
We warehouse and distribute our brands to national retailers throughout the country and via direct online channels.
We are proud that our products have been embraced by the market and we have listed in a very short space of time with many of the biggest retailers in the USA and the world.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
We are humble. We are driven and work hard. We love what we do. We are very proud of our product, what we do and are passionate about what we have achieved. Ultimately our goals are obviously growth and success but also to be able to give back to our community in any way we can.