A Fine Furniture Move to the East Coast
Every step he took brought him closer to his destiny. Alfred Mourid was walking the beaches of Fort Lauderdale alone, asking himself if he wanted to move away from home in Los Angeles. He was here, in Florida, once before on business, but this visit would change his life forever. Although his business was having success, Alfred was looking for a change. During his visit to Florida, something caught Alfred’s eye that set off a chain of events leading him to move and build a highly successful furniture company. A company driven by fate, always putting his customers first, and enjoying each day.
“I was on the beach and lost in thought when I looked up and right in front of me was a sign for an apartment for rent,” said Alfred. “I immediately called the number, met a lady who showed me the place, and fell in love with it. I put down some deposit money but I still wasn’t positive that I was moving… It was May and the apartment wouldn’t be ready until September.” So much could happen in four months so Alfred continued his journey of the unknown and while driving down the interstate in his rental car, fate once again came knocking. “I happened to catch a business location right off of the highway that was available, I took the nearest exit and went back to look at it. I asked when the building was available and the woman said September.” First, he found a great place to live and now he had a great place for his business all in a span of a couple of hours. “When it comes to starting a business, I’m a big believer that when you’re planning and things align a certain way in the beginning, it was meant to be. The way it came together convinced me that it was my destiny to be here.”
Elegant House opened its doors in 2003 and immediately became a destination for unique European-style furniture and decor. For years, Alfred has filled his massive store with eye popping chandeliers, paintings, accessories and unique Eastern European furniture that he traveled the world to find. “I believe that to be successful you have to always be thinking about what your customers want. They’re always looking for something new and finding new things that appeal to them is extremely important. I’ve spent years visiting cities all over the world looking for unique things and now we have a lot of customers who come from out of state to buy from us. We get calls from places like India, Russia, Iran and Dubai and we sell to a lot of people overseas, mostly in Europe.”
It’s no surprise Europeans are attracted to what the Elegant House has to offer. Alfred, who was born in Cairo, grew up at a time when he says European antiques were very big in Egypt. It was then that he first developed an appreciation for French influenced items and Italian furniture. Today his store is filled with Classic, Traditional, Modern and Contemporary furniture from Eastern Europe that has been a big draw for collectors and frequent customers. For Alfred, keeping those customers comes with extra effort which brings us to the next part of his strategy for success.
“I believe when it comes to dealing with your out-of-state customers, you have to do everything that you can to give them the best experience,” said Alfred. “I had a doctor in Ohio call me a couple of weeks ago about a living room set he saw on our website. I wanted him to really see all of the dimensions of the furniture so I had a FaceTime call with him and walked with my phone over to the living room set. He ended up buying it, along with some other items he saw… I wanted him to feel like he was in my showroom and he appreciated that.”
Going the extra mile is what Alfred has done since day one at Elegant House and for him it’s not a burden–it’s both satisfying and a key part of his success. “You have to enjoy what you do. I don’t really consider myself working. To me, it’s not work. It’s play. It’s a lot of fun. The day that I receive my shipments, it’s such a great feeling. It’s like having a new baby.”
Twelve good years have passed since that meaningful day when Alfred walked the beaches of Fort Lauderdale in search of his next path in life. A “FOR RENT” sign served as the first ingredient for his recipe for success and since then he’s followed four important beliefs along the way:
- Listen to fate.
- Keep things new for your customers.
- Do everything you can to accommodate them.
- Enjoy what you do.
Rules to live by from a man who appreciates his past, thrives in his present, and happily anticipates his future.