Once Upon a Time...Solidus started out as a simpler version of what we are today, and developed over the course of many years into a one-stop design-build shop. It began in a franchise furniture dealership first incorporated in 1932, by its sole proprietor, one Mr. Pierce. We still cherish our story's beginnings in the mid-20th century, and we invite you to take a look at some of the company milestones over the decades.
In 1963, Patrick Charette began working as a salesman at the franchise, called DoMore Office Furniture of Connecticut. DoMore was a respected furniture manufacturer famous for pioneering the design of robust, ergonomic chairs.
Two years later in 1965, Mr. Charette purchased the dealership and began exploring new possibilities. It was a traditional business in an age when craftsmen would build furniture to the highest standards. DoMore is still headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, as they were when Patrick Charette took over the business half a century ago. Their durable products are now considered collectors' items.
At this time, we were based in a former grocery store on Park Street in West Hartford, Connecticut. The showroom and warehouse more resembled a store front than a manufacturer's representative-dealer, as the store had been converted for our furniture business. In 1978, Patrick moved the operation to South Street in West Hartford, where he built a new, larger showroom and warehouse.
A notable development came in 1980; Patrick's son Mark Charette (pictured below) joined the company, bringing with him a vision that was to endure as the guiding light until the present day. Mark instantly saw new opportunities not just in furniture, but far beyond, in the world of collaborative design and construction.
1987 saw a second Charette brother join the company as a salesman. John Charette brought a solid background in business and finance to the table. In time company finances became John's focus, while Mark was active in sales.
In 1989, Patrick built an even bigger location on Cromwell Avenue in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Our business was now a resounding success, and we began to diversify into other furniture lines.
In 1991, we changed the company name to Business Invirons to reflect the fact we were working with multiple furniture manufacturers that sold different, newer products. At this time, Patrick Charette retired. He handed the reins to Mark and John. Business Invirons was now preparing for even more growth.
Over the next several years, Mark developed our proprietary DesignBuildFurnish process. The company philosophy was primed for a core shift, into the realm of Integrated Project Delivery. This attracted new team members who shared Mark's vision, several of whom have been with us for decades.
Together with longtime Solidus employee Bob Fontaine, Mark grew more interested in the building industry. The two explored how Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) could grow Business Invirons into design and construction. These were thrilling times that saw leaps of logic and insight on the part of our talented group.
When the construction world entered the Design-Build era in 2005, Business Invirons was way ahead of the curve. We completely rebranded ourselves as Solidus, with a new logo, website and direction. We chose the name Solidus because it means "complete", which reflects the IPD philosophy. A solidus was also a type of Roman coin, which symbolized the financial industry in which we are a design leader. The word also means "balance".
By 2007, Mark and John had relocated the company to a new location at 40 Cold Spring Road, Rocky Hill. We'd now established ourselves as leading experts in the collaborative construction field and were blazing a trail for others to follow.
In 2009, Mark Charette received CoreNet's prestigious Global Innovator's Award for his work with Mindshift, a consortium of progressive real estate interests dedicated to sustainability and transparency. Mark's mission to reduce waste, improve client ROI and design better corporate workspaces was now receiving recognition.
Solidus has grown steadily year-over-year as we've refined the IPD approach. Relationships between team members and with outside vendors, subcontractors, building officials and our valued clients have gone from strength to strength. Since Mark and John took over the business in 1991, Solidus has grown from approximately 15 employees and $4 million in sales to a current staff of 40 with sales in excess of $20 million.
Our sister company, AccuBranch, was founded in 2009, by Mark Charette and Mike Goman. AccuBranch combines research and software to determine optimal locations for new branch sitings (see diagram above). Together, we provide design and strategy guidance to financial institutes across the region.
In March, 2015 Solidus moved yet again, this time to Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield, CT. This latest space combined the offices and warehouse facility under one roof, and is significantly larger than any previous headquarters.
What began as an office furniture dealership in 1932 is now a sleek futurist entity, thanks to the pioneering vision of the exceptional individuals who led Solidus forward. It's been a long and interesting road, and we're delighted to welcome new clients as well as maintain trusting long-term relationships with existing ones. Welcome to Solidus. We hope you enjoyed this little trip through 82 years of Solidus history!