2013 Louisiana Small Business Exporter of the Year
A true example of entrepreneurship, Mr. Hartenstein grew his business with almost zero capital out of his garage, to one of the fastest growing private companies in America. Started as a small e-commerce website for automotive aftermarket parts and accessories sold on eBay, AAC Enterprises, LLC now ships specialized lighting products all over the globe.
In 2005, just when his business was starting to take off, Hurricane Katrina destroyed nearly all of AAC’s inventory. A real example of character and resilience, Mr. Hartenstein picked up the pieces of his business and within months of reopening, he was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine for his perseverance. Today, AAC is recognized as the “go-to” source for specialty automotive lighting by the aftermarket automotive enthusiasts. Their catalog now features over 5,000 products and the business has consistently grown over 200% per year since its inception.
AAC’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed. They were recognized three years in a row in Inc. Magazine’s list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. They were also named the region’s second fastest growing company by Baton Rouge’s 1012 Magazine. UPS spotlighted AAC as a model in a marketing campaign for global exporting. National publications such as The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal have written about the innovative products manufactured by AAC Enterprises under their brand, “Oracle Lighting”. These local goods have also caught the attention of known celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Will.I.AM, and Justin Bieber, just to name a few.
On January 1, 2013 AAC Enterprises will open their first retail outlet at a new facility purchased in Houston, Texas under the name Oracle Lighting of Houston, LLC.
Mr. Hartenstein never lost grasp of where he got his start. In 2011, AAC doubled their staff, bringing more jobs to the resilient city of New Orleans. They also give back by supporting the local performing arts society, donating to the local shelters and supporting ongoing beautification projects.
The SBA Awards highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories during National Small Business Week (June 17 – 21, 2013). The Jefferson Chamber will host a special luncheon on June 5 at Metairie Country Club to present awards to the local champions. Over the past five years, Jefferson Chamber-nominated businesses have won a total of 39 state-wide SBA awards in several different categories, including one national winner. For more information about the awards, winners and the special events, visit www.jeffersonchamber.org.