El Dorado News

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June 24, 2017
El Dorado News Times

Spotlight: Meeting the need

By Tia Lyons
This article was published March 19, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

Gregory Modica takes pride in being a homegrown product of El Dorado.

It was here that Modica, the youngest of 11 siblings, received the guidance, direction and nurturing he needed to understand that he could go as far as his mind and passions could take him.

From his parents, the late Willie and Mae Modica, he learned that a good education and an indefatigable work ethic are among the core ingredients for success.

Modica picked up his first cues about what being an entrepreneur means by watching his father operate a successful television repair business that began on the family property in the Morning Star neighborhood.

Gregory’s life’s pursuits have taken him around the world, but no matter how far the military veteran and pilot has traveled, he never strayed too far from his small-town upbringing, figuratively speaking,

So it seemed fitting, then, that when Gregory decided to launch his own business enterprise, he would eventually return to the place where the early flames of his entrepreneurial passions were ignited: home.

Government Supply Services LLC was rolled out in 2009, as a service and supply company specializing in office, medical, industrial and janitorial/sanitation supplies.

That first year, the Internet-based startup pulled in $5,000 in revenue. By the second quarter of 2015, revenue had grown to $1 million — and counting.

Laying the

groundwork

After graduating from El Dorado High School, Gregory signed up for the U.S. Army Reserve and enrolled in Grambling (Louisiana) State University, graduating with honors in 1990 with a degree in criminal justice.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during his commencement ceremony at GSU, and his unit was assigned to North and South Korea in the demilitarized zone as part of the Quick Reaction Force.

Gregory has undergone surgery for various injuries — including his knees, shoulder and back — he sustained while deployed overseas and while undergoing military training stateside.

He was honorably discharged as a disabled veteran after eight years of service and took a job as assistant plant manager/project manager for a Fortune 500 company in Tunica, Mississippi.

Dreams of starting his own business and becoming a pilot would lead Gregory away from the plant job and point him toward an aviation science degree from Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, where he graduated magna cum laude.

He previously served as a pilot for Central Flying Service in Little Rock.

In the late 1990s, Gregory made his first foray into business ownership as founder and vice-president of sales for the now-defunct Huo City Global, a startup Internet Service Provider in Jackson, Tennessee.

Returning to El Dorado

Unfortunate circumstances brought Gregory back to his hometown.

After his father became ill and passed away in 1999, Gregory assisted his mother and became her caregiver when she was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Mae Modica died in 2006.

Out of those difficult times emerged the concept for Government Supply Services.

“I noticed there were no opportunities for people with disabilities and people in situations like mine, taking care of sick relatives, to work from home,” Gregory explained.

Recognizing a need, Gregory seized the chance to fill it.

He began exploring small-business options by evaluating his skillsets, past business and work experiences, education, and military and aviation training and using them to figure out how to create work-from-home opportunities for himself and others like him.

Gregory looked to business magnate Warren Buffett as a role model and distant mentor.

“I don’t know him personally, but I read up on him and study what he does, and one thing I learned is don’t be afraid to start your business from home,” Gregory said. “He still operates his corporate business from home.”

Retailer and

distributer

Government Supply Services LLC is an Internet-based company that operates without a storefront space.

Its office is headquartered in El Dorado — 1015 N. West Ave., Suite 360 — and a second office and warehouse are in Little Rock.

“Little Rock is where I was getting my business opportunities, and I needed an office that was centrally located so we can reach out to customers in southern Arkansas and northern Arkansas and all points in between,” Gregory said.

Government Supply’s customer base is made up of state and federal entities, including one local customer in South Arkansas Community College, with whom the company has a state contract.

Gregory described some of the more than 60,000 products that are offered by Government Supply.

For instance, two federal contracts with VA hospitals could mean moving and relocating furniture and equipment during a remodel or cleaning sterilization chambers.

A partnership with Georgia-Pacific could mean a supply of green/eco-friendly products or the installation of automatic soap and paper towel dispensers.

On the industrial side, products run the gamut from tools to night-vision goggles, packaging supplies, strapping materials, and safety materials, such as gloves designed to handle chemicals and HAZMAT suits.

Government Supply clients include the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

Other colleges in Arkansas and Job Corps programs across the country, whose needs range from office/technology, tools and hardware to medical and surgical supplies, are also on the company’s contract roster.

Government Supply has four full-time employees, including its founder and chief executive officer — Modica — and three independent contractors.

In developing his business plan, Modica quickly gained an understanding of the importance and necessity of securing applicable business certifications in order to be a player in a competitive marketplace.

Government Supply’s certifications include, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Veteran-Owned Small Business; Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Certified Minority Business Enterprise; the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise; and a HUBZone, which seeks to employ people who live in communities that are historically challenged and underutilized when it comes to business/economic development.

“My business is located in a HUBZone in Little Rock, and like with Job Corps, there’s a need to buy from a HUBZone, and that takes us national,” Gregory explained.

Online retail giant Amazon.com recently reached out to Government Supply with an offer for a partnership.

Amazon was searching for businesses with certifications, including many of those held by Government Supply, because companies with whom Amazon does business want to buy from businesses with those certifications, Gregory said

“They (Amazon) said they knew it was going to be difficult to find a company with all of those certifications, and when they did a Google search, they were shocked when my business came up with all of those certifications,” Gregory said

“We put some products on Amazon, and I just made my first sale the other day,” he continued.

Government Supply also

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