We’re continuing the love fest with Part II of our Love and Garage Doors series. Meet four more of our amazing distributors in today’s blog. If you missed Love and Garage Doors Part I, read it here http://bit.ly/1WidJgZ!
In 1986, Gordon McGraw bought Overhead Door Company of Eugene-Springfield to build a flexible life for his young family. In 2007, when he was ready to retire and enjoy his hobbies, the next generation was ready to step in. His daughters and their husbands, Katie and Chris Schnider and Sara and Paul Burrell, were ready to take on the very successful distributorship that Gordon had built. Katie and Paul took over day-to-day operations, while Chris eventually began to manage the commercial sales department and Sara continued her work in the community as a registered nurse. The group went on to win the Eagle Award from 2012-2014.
We asked them a few of their favorite things about working as Overhead Door Distributors:
“Seeing the impact we’ve been able to achieve in the community, not just from providing and installing garage doors, but helping others in the community. Whether it is through donating to a charitable cause, or donating materials and services for auctions and raffles, we’re blessed and fortunate to be able to give back. It has been as rewarding as any other element of being involved with this business,” said Chris.
“It is always memorable when we get to spend continuing our garage door education at conferences and meetings as well as socializing with other distributors,” said Katie.
Chris said he enjoys the business side of things, “Getting to see the whole picture of running a business. Instead of just one aspect, we get to delve into and make decisions regarding every part of our livelihood,” he explained.
The group sees changes toward viewing the garage door as a statement piece as an upcoming trend for their business. Being in a microbrewery capital, many are now showing interest in Full Vision doors. In addition, the group has seen a trend toward proactive safety measures, particularly when it comes to fire doors.
When Jeff Ross lost his job to an organizational restructure almost 15 years ago he had to make a choice: start working for somebody else or become his own boss. Now, he owns and manages three distributorships along with the help and support of his family.
His wife Lauri, whom he knew growing up, started out in inside sales and evolved to purchasing and inventory control. Mike, Jeff and Lauri’s oldest son, joined the family business almost 12 years ago and has worked in inside sales, estimating and now works as an operations supervisor. Danny, Jeff and Lauri’s youngest son, worked as a door tech while attending college and eventually moved to outside sales, branch manager, and now works in the material handling division of the company. Lauri and Jeff’s daughter-in-law Erica also started working in the business while in college, and now manages the company’s e-commerce and websites.
Owning a distributorship allowed the family to hire on Jeff’s father part-time making sales calls. These led to some of the most cherished memories the family has. Mike and Danny had the opportunity to work along-side and learn from their grandfather, who was very mindful of schedules, arriving early to sales calls and always being prepared.
“A family business is not without its challenges. One of the challenges is to make sure you treat all of your employees as family. As long as people understand the rules and you treat everyone fairly and with respect, it’s not an issue,” said Jeff.
Chuck and Cynthia Parmely met in 1981, when Cynthia began work as a bookkeeper for Chuck’s dad who owned the distributorship before Chuck and Cynthia took over in 1998. The two were married just six months later on April 3, 1982 and will be spending their 34th wedding anniversary at Overhead Door’s 95th National Ribbon Distributor Meeting!
Chuck has been in the garage door business since he was 10 years old, spending the past 37 years with Overhead Door Company of Riverton/Lander, “I was born into this business and I love the job,” said Chuck.
Chuck and Cynthia’s daughter, Ashley, followed in her family’s footsteps. This year will mark her tenth year with Overhead Door! “Even though we aren’t all related, it’s like we are all family here. We joke around with each other and the atmosphere is always light, fun and carefree,” said Ashley.
Some of their favorite memories revolve around that family bond with the entire distributorship. Chuck remembers an unexpected gift, the metal art with the Overhead Door logo in the pictures above, that meant a lot to him and Cynthia. The art was given to the couple by the employees at a company Christmas party a few years ago. This bond has transformed the distributorship from a one man shop to a 16-person business that has thrived for the past 37 years.
James and Ilona Christopherson were high school sweethearts. They’ve been in the business for 29 years and their son, David, also works as an integral part of the distributorship. This family has worked hard, and due to this hard work they have grown their business in 12 of the last 13 years, a milestone they’re particularly proud of.
“I wouldn’t be here today without my families’ help,” said James.
When asked about some of their favorite personal memories from working as an Overhead Door Distributor, they pointed to the people they have met at the company as well as other distributorships, who have become their friends and people they look up to.
We want to thank these special distributors for taking the time to share their stories with us. We’re proud to have the opportunity to work with all of our wonderful distributors.
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