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The Briefing

The Briefing THE BOSS’ MANAGEMENT STRATEGY Since 1979, Jorge Lopez has moved J & M Entertainment from a one-man mobile DJ operation into a full-service corporate event production company with 16 employees. There have been plenty of chances along the way to second-guess himself. Certainly, there have been a few since the events of Sept. 11 figured to put a damper on corporations looking for companies to mount high-concept meetings and parties. That’s why Lopez’ decision last October to more than double the space he had at his studio/warehouse complex in Valencia took more than just a little thought. Lopez told Business Journal editor Michael Hart about how he made the decision. “Four years ago, we signed a three-year lease here. It was scary. There are very few DJs that have 4,000 square feet for a warehouse and showcase area. “Last year, I already knew we were in a recession. That’s why we diversified into event production. We decided to come out with a new look, with a new logo. Everything came out in early September. “Then Sept. 11 came along. October was our best October ever, but that was because it had already been booked. November was down and in December, we were shooting for 100 events, and we did 36. That was an ouch. That was the first wakeup call. “Still, right at Oct. 1, the people next door moved out. At that time, we had a satellite office in Glendale that was really small. Plus, we started getting really bottlenecked in 4,000 square feet here. “We ended up taking another 5,000 square feet. It let me have more showroom space to show off what we can do. I had to make the call. If I didn’t do it because of short-term pain, I’d have a split operation. “But the office is just one piece of it. There’s really a deeper purpose: Most people believe the great time to expand is during a great economy, but everybody else is doing it too. “During tough times, you’re there to provide a service, maybe for $3,000 an event instead of $20,000, but it’s a great time to show you care for your clients and you’re not just there to make a profit. “Expansion of the facility was a big issue, but it was part of growing the business in a slow time. I also hired an entertainment director and another five people. Now we have 16 employees. “I did the math and said it would work out. Maybe it wasn’t a great time, but so far, so good.”

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