Notable Tampa business owner seeks to reach international waters

Granex Inc of Hillsborough County

Notable Tampa business owner seeks to reach international watersFor the past 30 years, Raj Emandi has built his lucrative business, Granex Inc, by traveling all over the world, seeking out the best stones for his products.

“We are a granite and marble processing unit,” Emandi said. “We import blocks from all over the world and we process them into slabs of various thicknesses and various finishes.”

Granex has gained notable recognition over the years. It’s one of few businesses that can handle all of the processing on site, and its products are all Made in the U.S.A. Three years ago, when Emandi opened his Tampa location and had a special guest at the ribbon cutting ceremony – then Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Emandi turned to the Florida SBDC at USF for help expanding into the international market.

“Florida SBDC offered to prepare some project reports, the Export Marketing Plan and the growth acceleration program,” he said. “We try to utilize all the programs that they have to improve the business.”

The thorough Export Marketing Plan report surprised Emandi. An average plan takes 80 to 100 hours of preparation by a Florida SBDC at USF international trade specialist.

“Everything is new for me,” he said. “I mean the reports that they gave us, show how big of an export market that we could have if we approached those markets in a proper way.”

Emandi is very proud that his products are made in America, and said that when he started the company, his intention was to just market within the United States.

“But after looking into the report, I realized that there is a tremendous market for exporting,” he added. “So that is what we are focusing on. In fact, next month I’m traveling to Peru for three days to meet with some potential buyers.”

As a result, Emandi is exploring opportunities in various international markets, including India, Panama, and Peru, with the assistance of additional organizations such as U.S. Commercial Service and Enterprise Florida. Emandi recently took part in the Panama export mission.

He and his Florida SBDC at USF business consultant Pablo Arroyo have developed quite a business relationship throughout the process, and he says he admires Arroyo’s ability to respond quickly to any question he throws his way.

Emandi says he will continue to work with the Florida SBDC at USF, as they start to take an in-depth look at the business’s financial health, through the Growth Acceleration service. “They are very affordable and they have a lot of resources,” he said.