WOFB: How fostering a family atmosphere builds business

Home Column WOFB: How fostering a family atmosphere builds business

HadingerBy Susan Hadinger—Hadinger’s Flooring was founded 90 years ago by Tom Hadinger in Wisconsin. Tom eventually moved the business to Florida, where it sits today. Judy Hadinger joined the business 20 years ago and built the rug portion from nothing to more than 8,000 rugs in stock. Together they built a very strong business that I had the great fortune of joining 11 years ago. I started at the store working with Judy on the rug side of the business and then expanded to the flooring side as well.

I knew nothing about flooring when I started with Hadinger’s but have loved the process of learning and growing into the job. I took over as CEO at the beginning of the pandemic and haven’t looked back. We, like others, have had to make changes to adapt to the landscape. We are a leaner, smaller group in numbers but now we are more cohesive and focused than ever.

As we continue to evolve, our leadership team focuses more on our culture of family and service. We look after each other and even squabble like family here. We like to give back to our people by planning fun outings and giving bonuses when business allows. We spend most of our time at work, so we believe it should be enjoyable. When customers come into our store, we believe they can sense what a great culture we have and how happy our co-workers are here.

Ultimately, our goal is to provide the best service to our customers possible and this is fostered by our atmosphere.

We also have great relationships with our vendor partners. I say partners intentionally, as we work together to grow our business to the benefit of all. I feel fortunate to say that some of my best friends reside in this industry and I’m grateful to have friendships that coexist with work. Many of them are strong, talented women. Even though we are by far the minority right now, our numbers are growing quickly, and I expect that to continue.

In my opinion, it’s not so much that women as a group bring something special to the table as it is that the specific women in leadership [positions] are just strong leaders. I am proud to be among this group and look to them often for perspective as well as support.

Anytime we can offer support and lift each other up, we benefit as a whole. I believe we’ve never had as many strong female leaders in this business as we do today. The door is open for young women to get a start in the flooring business and work their way up to the top.

As women leaders, we need to nurture this growth and be there for anyone looking to move up in this industry—especially other young women. The Women of the Flooring Business Group is a great example of support we can offer each other and will help women grow in this business. Any outlet where we can share ideas, successes and failures is a great resource and will provide many benefits to all of us.

Susan Hadinger is the CEO of Hadinger Flooring in Naples, Fla., where she lives with her 13-year-old son, Drew and dog, Cody.

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Sept. 13/20, 2021

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