Steve Winiarz admits that in 2006, he was “green” when it came to what marketing for a business was all about. Winiarz was a 2006 Somers High School graduate who decided he would stay local and enroll at Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) in Enfield, following his high school graduation. He was working in a hardware store, had started his own business, and enrolled at ACC. A competitive motor cross rider for 20 years, Winiarz found his niche in motor cross graphics and started his STS Motorsports Graphics business. Working out of his parents’ living room, the young entrepreneur said he has eagerly used all of the information that he learned as part of his ACC’s business classes in his business plan. He said he signed up for all of ACC Professor Jim Wilkinson’s classes while pursuing his degree. Fast forward to today and Winiarz has added another company-STS Design and Print-to his portfolio and he continues to explore additional entrepreneurial opportunities.
The Somers based business has continued to grow and expand since Winiarz graduated from Asnuntuck in 2008. If you have been behind a Magic Carpet bus in Enfield, you will see a vehicle wrap that STS has put on the bus. The same is true for a Big Y trailer-one of STS’s biggest clients. STS has wrapped 44 of their trailers, with an order for 15 more. Customers include U.S.A. Hauling and Recycling, along with HomeGoods. That is not everything that the company does. They do embroidery and screen printing as well. The company has five full-time employees and 11 seasonal employees. Motor cross customers continue to be a strong base for both companies. Winiarz is no longer a competitive motor cross rider, but he brings the business on the road to motor cross events 25 weekends a year. He has 28-foot trailer stored in his 5,000 square foot facility on Egypt Road, which he brings to the motor cross competitions, to sell merchandise.
Winiarz, who earned certificates in Marketing and Business Administration from the college, in addition to his Associate’s degree, says he gained more than book smarts from his Asnuntuck experience. He admits that he arrived at Asnuntuck as a shy person but left as a person willing to speak up and share his opinions. “Jim Wilkinson taught me that you can have an opinion. In business you can’t be quiet or you will get trampled on,” said the grad. “He was excited to teach something new every day,” said Winiarz, when speaking about his former instructor. He also credits Mr. Romano and Mike Mayo, both teachers at Somers High School, for what he learned in their classrooms. He said it has been an 11-year journey. “You learn a lot from being an 18-year old green entrepreneur to now.” He continues, “It has been an emotional roller coaster.” As his business continues to climb in an upward trajectory Winiarz continues to explore which services and products he can provide to his customers.
Asnuntuck’s spring semester begins on January 17, 2018 Visit www.asnuntuck.edu for information on all of Asnuntuck’s programs.