Just before Christmas in 1994, a business owner in New York made the difficult decision to lay off one of his top managers. Connecting Elements President, Matt Brosius, tells the story:
"Connecting Elements had its start from a series of unplanned events. I started working for an office furniture service company as a temporary employee when I was 18 years old. The owner of that company was great to work with and he helped me learn different aspects of the business. I progressed over the years until I became one of two managers running three warehouse and production buildings. We were involved in planning and preparing projects before they shipped out to job sites.
I enjoyed the office furniture work and wanted to have more responsibility. I thought about having my own installation business and spoke to the owner about my aspirations. He gave me advice and encouragement. Then about six months later, he sold his company. With that transition it was necessary to lower overhead so he was told to cut the management staff by 50%. He knew that I wanted to start my own business so he chose to let me go instead of the other manager. I found myself unemployed with a new house, full family, and Christmas only two weeks away.
It was now or never. I spoke to my wife and friends about my plans to start my own office furniture company. The general idea was to handle anything relating to office furniture including office relocations, installations, and project management. A very close friend of mine lived in South Carolina and said that I could use a room at his office in order to start my business. In 1995 I had made the decision to open a commercial office furniture company. Now it needed a name. We talked about several possibilities which had the words "interiors" or "office" in them; however, there seemed to be hundreds of companies that had one of those two words in their name. I wanted something that said more about what we could help people with. What we wanted to do was help people get from point A to point B and connect all of the pieces. We came up with "Connecting Elements." When my wife told our middle child the name, she responded with "Connecting Elephants, that's a funny name...." That, of course, made the decision: Connecting Elements was our new name.
Then, equipped with a new company name and goal, I loaded up my station wagon with a tool box, two dollies, and a cart and I drove to South Carolina. I lived with my close friends and shared a bunk bed with their oldest son. I worked out of a room at their business and paid the rent by working for them in their business from time to time. I called every furniture company in the phone book asking for work. Things took off from there and soon after that my family was able to join me in South Carolina."
And as for the puzzle piece logo? Matt's father was an avid jigsaw puzzle fan, so everything just seemed to fall into place when they thought of using a puzzle piece to represent a company that connects elements within an office!