Five co-workers turn company collapse into success story

Ajdovščina, 1 October - A group of five co-workers who lost their jobs when Alukomen, a Komen-based company, went bankrupt, has managed to turn a business failure into a business opportunity by founding their own company, which now equips museums in Slovenia, Europe and the US.

Archa inženiring.
Photo: Rosana Rijavec/STA

After losing their jobs three years ago, the group set up the company Archa Inženiring and found a market niche in designing and manufacturing museum and depot equipment.

Last year, revenue topped EUR 1.2 million and this year the turnover is already 30% higher than last year. "We've had the know-how and courage and we've made it," CEO Peter Čevnja has told the STA.

"In the three-quarters of this year, we already exceeded last year's turnover and were're hoping the trend continues until the end of the year," he added.

Archa Inženiring's clients are mainly public institutions, which only order equipment when they have enough money to buy it, so the company has no problems with late payments or non-payment.

As the business took off, the team bought the production facilities of the former textile company Ika from the bad bank, and this has been its base for the last three years.

"We're perfectly happy with the location and it's in excellent shape," said one of the founders, Boštjan Štolfa, who is now in charge of international operations.

Their products can be found in museums and galleries around Slovenia, Europe and the US. Each peace is custom made to meet specific client needs for exhibiting or storing items.

They have enough orders, especially from abroad. "But it is not the same every year, it all depends on the orders. We don't have serial production; we do offer display cabinets of similar typology to potential buyers but each museum is specific and the equipment must meet the desires of designers and architects," Štolfa stressed.

This year, the company made display cabinets and terrariums for a major ZOO in Toledo, US, and currently they are working on a project for the new US Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs.

Archa Inženiring's staff currently totals 11 but more hiring is expected as early as next month.

© STA, 2019