(Editor’s note: Following is the 12th installment in a new series promoting Women of the Flooring Business, a social media group that provides members with a platform to share their experiences, observations and best practices.)
Renee Wenner—Women make up half the population in a world that is very diverse, and women can bring new ideas and solutions to the table. Case in point: To effectively deal with the current installation shortage, we have expanded our installer crew to include women—three female installers, to be exact.
Some customers are skeptical when they see them coming to the door—they believe the job must be done by a man. When the job is done perfectly and cleaned up, it always differentiates us from other stores. I’m lucky; my business partner is my sister and is responsible for installation at our company. She is meticulous and always sees that jobs are finished on time and meet her high expectations.
But that’s not all we’ve done to support our business. Recently, we welcomed a mascot to the store. “Boss” the bulldog comes to work every day. Animals are therapy for all of us, particularly now that we’ve been so isolated. We’re all—staff and customers alike—in a better mood because of The Boss.
The Boss is also a conversation starter; people will tell you about their pets, and now we’re building a relationship. It’s funny how people trust other people with pets! The Boss has also made our Facebook page more interesting and engaging. We have customers and visitors to our page posting photos of their own pets.
Point is, I believe ongoing training and outside-the-box thinking is important for myself and my staff to support and grow the business. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I have good business instincts and can handle situations without constantly second guessing myself.
I have also taken numerous seminars with Mohawk University over the years. Lisbeth Calandrino has also been a mentor to me for years. All my training helped me grow my business and become National Dealer of the Year. Business can be stressful, but I’ve learned to take each day as it comes and not to worry—I know I can handle it. I’ve also become more supportive of my employees, and I have a new appreciation for their own challenges. It’s because of their commitment that our success continues. We’ve come so far since years ago, when my parents owned this business.
I’m grateful to the women in our group who have been supportive, as well as all the amazing people I have met on my journey who continue to propel me forward. Business is more complicated than when my parents owned it. But I’m up for the challenge.
Renee Wenner is the owner and president of Lima Carpet and Design Center in Avon, N.Y. Renne has been instrumental in expanding the interior design aspect of Lima Carpet and works in the store as the interior design professional.