Office furniture store owner eyes expansion

Israel Guerrero, owner of Continuum Office Environments LLC, is considering adding an additional location for his office furniture store.

After earning $1.4 million in revenue in 2023 and adding two more employees, Continuum has outgrown its 13,000-square-foot facility at 720 N. Fancher, north of the Franz Bakery Outlet and south of Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley.

“At the beginning of the year, I was thinking about a new location,” Guerrero says. “I’m not sure where, but this location has outgrown me.”

Founded by Guerrero in 2016, Continuum offers new and used office furniture, including chairs, conference tables, desks, cubicles and panel systems, filing and storage cabinets, and more.

Using computer-aided design technology, Guerrero also offers office layout design services to help customers map out their spaces when they purchase furniture.

“That gives me the walls, gives me the doors. It gives me power locations. It gives me the certain things that I need for the designing of their layout,” he says.

Despite not having formal design training or education, Guerrero has worked alongside numerous designers over the course of his 36-year career in the furniture industry.

“I don’t consider myself as an interior designer, but I design the workflow,” Guerrero says.

Guerrero’s career in the furniture space began when he took an entry-level job at a small furniture manufacturing company in Seattle.

It wasn’t until he lost two fingers in a table saw accident that he began his journey toward opening a business of his own.

“I had to figure out what I was going to do, because I was devastated,” says Guerrero. “I wasn’t making the money that I should have been making because of the loss.”

While the pay in his new office role wasn’t as high as it was in his previous role, Guerrero made the most of the situation.

“I learned as much as I could within the office, how it operated, how it functioned,” he says. “I learned computer-aided drafting, order entry, purchasing, customer service, warehouse.”

By the time he left the Seattle company, Guerrero led 14 different departments, he says.

Guerrero took a job as a sales representative for a furniture store in Yakima, Washington, and eventually moved to Spokane where he worked at another furniture store until 2016 when he opened Continuum.

With no formal business education, Guerrero says he has leaned on his experiences to operate his company.

“I took all my learnings throughout my years since I was 20 and put all the money that I had put aside, looked for a place, and started this company,” he says.

Whether for home offices, small businesses, or large corporations, Continuum serves customers within a 150-mile radius of Spokane, Guerrero says.

The store now has eight employees, six of whom work full time, and Guerrero is hoping to add another salesperson soon.

In addition to designing layouts, the Valley furniture shop provides delivery and installation for its customers, as well as tear down and disposal of old furniture. 

Furniture purchased at Continuum can be customized to fit customers’ spaces, Guerrero adds. If a table is too long, for example, Guerrero can cut it down to the desired size and redo the edges, he says.

Continuum offers a mix of higher-end new and used furniture and more affordable new and used furniture from over 20 manufacturers. The more affordable options and used options are still high-quality pieces of furniture, Guerrero says.

“Whenever I look for (used furniture), or shop for it, or inherit it, it has to be something that I feel very comfortable reselling to the public,” he says.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and offices across the country shut down, Guerrero had to figure out a plan.

“I thought I was going to go out of business,” he says. “I had to figure out what to do.”

He resorted to selling plastic dividers, or sneeze guards as he calls them, that were used during the pandemic to shield essential workers from each other and from the customers or patients they had to interact with. 

Guerrero cut all the plastic dividers to size at his store and provided customers with the necessary clamps and parts to install them. 

“It was our best year, just off the level of plastic,” he says.

With offices shut down during that time, Continuum saw a big increase in customers looking to buy furniture for their home offices, says Guerrero.

Business is back to normal now, however, as more companies are back in their offices, Guerrero says. Continuum has been busy so far in 2024, he adds. 

Continuum is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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