The story of All Florida Paper (AFP) can be traced back when Secundino and Yolanda, parents of Armando Caceres made the life-changing decision to leave Communist Cuba for the United States. It was the hardest decision of their lifetime, because leaving Cuba wasn’t the only thing they left behind; they had to leave everything they had ever worked for, earned or built. They left behind neighbors, schoolmates, teachers, friends, cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents knowing they would never see them ever again. So they didn’t just leave Cuba behind, they had to leave their home, forever. This decision was made, to provide opportunities for a better life for themselves, and their son Armando, in a free country, the land of opportunity, and in a place where, with hard work and dedication, you can go as far as your dreams can take you.
The Early Years
By the time their son, Armando, had entered adulthood; he had fallen in love with the America his parents had escaped to decades earlier. He began to learn and understand about business, success, and the components necessary that make great businesses great. Over the coming years, Armando would develop a dream, which was about creating a business that would represent more than just your average company. He dreamed of building a business that would operate the old-fashioned way, and by doing so, would transform the lives of its employees, become a valuable asset to its customers through the consultative approach, and become respected in all the communities it conducts business.
In 1993, Armando followed through with his dream, and founded All Florida Paper, a business that would service local community businesses in Hialeah, Florida with innovative distribution solutions. The company opened its doors with just a 5,500 square foot warehouse, 2 delivery trucks, and 4 employees. The first few years were extremely challenging. As the new kid on the block, All Florida had to compete with other distributors that were more established at the local, regional and national levels, and had strong relationships with manufacturers. Although, with tenacity, the company earned many of the industry’s leading manufacturers’ trust, which resulted in the opportunity to represent those manufacturers in the distribution of quality products.
“While Some Doors Closed, Many Doors Opened”
Many of the company’s early customers believed in All Florida Paper, and gave the company an opportunity to service their businesses, because they realized that AFP was very different from any of its competitors. The only way AFP could differentiate itself from the competitors, was by bringing value to its customers. The primary focus of the early years, was to create a culture that revolved around the customer’s needs, and to convey those ideas to the team the company was developing over the years.
Today and Into the Future
The very same staff that started with All Florida Paper since the first day would constantly tell stories to new employees for years to come about how Armando would go out and visit customers during the day, get the administrative tasks completed late in the evening, and after that, he would load delivery trucks, and work in the warehouse passed midnight every day. They would tell stories about how Armando would deliver products in his own car when the delivery trucks didn’t have any more space, or if the customer needed products urgently.
“Because of our Philosophy, Many Customers Became Close Friends”
More than 20 years later, All Florida Paper (AFP) has become a leading privately held distributor in the United States, servicing businesses in more than 35 industries and throughout 25 countries. With thousands of product lines, AFP is a key partner with businesses in over 10 market sectors, ranging from education to healthcare, and food service to janitorial and sanitation. In addition, the company has developed redistribution services in the United States, and exporting services throughout Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Since the beginning, the philosophy of AFP has always been to offer customers superior quality products at competitive prices, combined with industry leading sales and customer service teams.