That’s not to say being in Queens doesn’t present challenges. While Kaldawy loves Queens and everything about it, his company faces hardships with parking, getting vehicles around and other logistics. Their tax rates are also higher, and when facing stiff competition, that can be burdensome.
Another hurdle confronting the company is that the business is outgrowing the facility, which brings uncertainty in the near future. Kaldawy said Mondial has been creative with their inventory and shelving, but eventually, they may have to find a bigger space.
Their next facility would have to be at least 50,000 square feet, he said. And while he would love to stay in Queens, Kaldawy said there are legitimate hardships to consider.
“I love it here, I’d love to see us stay here,” he said. “My dad always used to say, you create a vacuum, and it fills itself. It was as true then as it is today. I believe that if we have the good blessing to outgrow the facility, and at the end of the day it creates an opportunity, we’ll find something,” he added. “You can’t sweat the small stuff. These things find a way to work themselves out.”
Despite the obstacles, Kaldawy has found a way to transform challenges into opportunities, and ultimately, solutions.
An important way to stay competitive is by investing in their staff, whether it’s through trainings, apprenticeship programs or other workplace development initiatives. That’s where city agencies, or organizations like the Queens Chamber, can lend a helping hand to manufacturing companies like Mondial.
“We need to be as efficient as possible. To do that, we have to be as competitive as possible,” he said. “The training we can give our staff is monstrous. Anything they can do to help us continue to support reinvestment in machinery, it’s important.”
Mondial has also been able to flourish by continuing to reinvent itself and finding niche opportunities and markets. Kaldawy said they’ve had to walk away from a lot of commodity items because there was no margin for them.
“You can source them far cheaper than you can make them,” he said.
By finding that niche market, Mondial has been able to find solutions that make the company profitable.
“We don’t want to run with everybody,” he said. “Let’s try to be unique and find the challenge that somebody else has either not thought of yet or is intimidated by, and let’s go after that one. That has been what we do.”