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17 Members
United States, Philadelphia
1890 Days Ago
General Info
First Name:
Anna Maria
Last Name:
Gotham Shares
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  AnnaMariaVona wrote 228 Days Ago  
Honored to be a new Gotham member to the Philadelphia chapter, I'd like to introduce myself to the "tribe." Together with my husband, Carmen, we founded Carmana Designs, Ltd. back in 1981 when we were both in our early 20's and not yet married. Still reeling from the deaths of both of his parents (seven months apart in 1979), my husband became an orphan before the age of 21. To make matters worse, he had two older brothers who forced him out of the family home because they wanted to sell it because they both had upcoming weddings. Fueled by his desperation, Carmen had no where to go but up. He decided to go out on his own. Carmana Designs, Ltd., is a turn-key, full-service high-end cabinetmaking shop and mill shop where we design, fabricate, finish and install high-end cabinetry and mill work in a sprawling 30,000+ square foot facility that houses over $2 million in automated woodworking machinery and a state-of-the-art downdraft paint booth where we spray flawless high-gloss polyester and polyurethane finishes. Initially we began designing, fabricating and installing only extremely high-end residential work and many high-profile interior designers used our services exclusively. We received extensive local, regional and national press, often appearing on many trade magazine and regional consumer shelter publications. Now the paradigm has shifted to almost one hundred percent commercial work, where we fabricate for clients such as Godiva, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, and high-end local restaurants, offices and hospitality. We have taken scores of inner-city youth over the past three decades, taught them the skills of the trade and provided gainful, meaningful employment for them and their families. Working with local on-the-job training agencies, we continue to train young men, keeping traditional woodworking skills alive in this automated age. Yet, by investing in and keeping up with technology, we earned the privilege of remaining in business while many in our trade went bankrupt or closed their doors during and after the Great Recession from 2008-2012. Our biggest challenge remains finding qualified young men who want to learn the woodworking and cabinetmaking trade and who have the sufficient "soft skills" necessary to both land and keep a job. Sadly, those "soft skills" such as common sense, good ethics and morals, punctuality and a passionate desire to learn and succeed are in very short supply these days. So my challenge to my fellow Gotham members is to send me young people that you may know that want to learn a trade/skill that will be able to sustain them for the rest of their lives. I strongly hew to the traditional values that Gotham embodies and I look forward to meeting many more members who share similar values. About me.... I'm an inveterate gardener, gourmet cook, artisan baker, passionate about everything real estate (purchasing, investing, renovating, leasing and managing residential multi-family, commercial and industrial properties), love being a Mom to my two beautiful daughters and to my only "son", Chase, a pure-bred black standard poodle. Love to travel the world and share the good times with my family and friends!
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