Learn how this father-son duo was able to build a multimillion-dollar firm

BY Preta Peace Namasaba May 22, 2024 7:02 AM EDT
From L to R: John and Joshua Johnson of Space Continuum,

Many entrepreneurs struggle with how to take their businesses to the next level. When stuck in a rut, they usually turn to strategies such as advertising, social media engagement, strategic acquisitions, and others. For John and Joshua Johnson, the father and son owners of the multimillion-dollar design firm Space Continuum, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives were crucial to getting their venture off the ground. 

“A lot of the corporate clients were saying, ‘Listen, we have initiatives that we need to meet and we’re asking, how can you help us meet those particular initiatives?’ With me already being in the marketplace and with my history and experience, everyone knew of me. So, they approached me and asked if I would consider becoming a MillerKnoll dealer, which I did. And we have worked as a MillerKnoll dealer, working with a lot of the matrix clients here within this marketplace to meet those corporate diversity goals,” John Johnson explained how his multimillion design firm came into fruition.

After decades of working in corporate roles, the older Johnson founded Space Continuum, a contract furniture dealership and interior design firm, in 2016. He had to evolve from working in corporate America to dealerships where he planned construction projects and offered design and installation services. Johnson was then approached by MillerKnoll, a top manufacturing company to help increase its minority presence in the sector. With his presence in the marketplace, history, and experience, he was well-equipped to work with clients in furtherance of their corporate diversity goals.

A year after establishing his dealership, John brought on board his son to help with operations.  Joshua had a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, 15 years of experience in the tech industry and was familiar with the business. The younger Johnson took over many of the managerial tasks, and was at the forefront of representing the business and taking it to new frontiers. He currently serves as the company’s vice president of new business development and is geared to take over upon his father’s retirement.

“I’ve been around the furniture industry. I am familiar with how to process goals… and of course, like my father stated, there are not many of us in that environment, so we’re pretty much a fly on the wall. As far as the legacy standpoint, when he asked me to come back, I was familiar with the business. I saw different ventures that we can branch off into and grow the business and continue to build on its success,” Joshua Johnson said about his role in the company.

The Johnsons are building “spaces that impact lives” while holding companies accountable to their DEI standards. The father-son duo emphasizes DEI because they understand that racism is very prevalent within corporations, the government, and any other entity they choose to work with. It is at the forefront when they present their certifications, capabilities, and success in the past to show that they can fulfill the contracts. Space Continuum has consequently been very successful in that area and continues to exert pressure on its manufacturers to ensure that they support its business and diversity and inclusion.

Over the years, the company has elevated its offerings and introduced advanced technology into its production. Its design staff has transitioned from relying on architectural draft paper rolls to using AutoCAD software which can create 2D and 3D designs digitally. Clients can experience the designs through virtual reality (VR) with the technology that allows clients to walk through spaces in real time by putting on VR glasses being integrated into the company in 2019. This has resulted in expedited feedback, which is beneficial for clients engaged in larger projects to reinforce their satisfaction with the project.

Additionally, Space Continuum has expanded its reach in the technology sector and grown its portfolio by becoming a national distributor of EV charging stations in 2023 for commercial and residential use. The Johnsons have established long-standing relationships with high-profile firms, emerging as respected players in the industry. They have secured contracts with the likes of Honda, Ford, Exelon, the University of Chicago, Memphis Airport Authority, and the Obama Foundation, which recognized Space Continuum as Supplier of the Year in 2018.