Your City, Your Business: Business Owners Speak Out - Interview Series

This is a collection of short interviews and education from local business owners with amazing insights into today’s challenges. Coaches Mark McNulty (MM) and Sandy Merritt (SM) virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through these unusual times, and their current challenges and successes. Check out their inspiring stories for business tips and general wisdom.

Be sure to visit the companies’ websites. Reach out to those who offer services you can use. Let’s support each other!

Featured in this edition:

dRAE Media & Marketing, Dawn Wigginton

SM: Tell us about your business.

DW: We are a digital marketing firm. Our specialties include building websites, SEO, social media campaigns, and Google console setup and management. I left a long-time position in 2013 so that I could better care for family members.  When I was ready to return to work I went independent and things have grown from there.

SM: Who is your target customer?

DW: We serve various customers. I don’t know if there is an industry we haven’t touched. We started in healthcare, and many of our referrals come from that industry.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

DW: We initially lost many of the clients that hired us to perform ongoing marketing for them. We help many healthcare companies, and they were cautious at first. Then things got busier than ever for us. Companies in that industry have needed extra help. We are fortunate because, while many people were losing jobs and projects, we often found ourselves working late into the night. The hospitals, the labs, and many other health care entities wanted help to get the word out about things like testing.

SM: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?

DW: We helped many healthcare entities communicate their plans in terms of handling the pandemic. There was a lot of education involved. We also coordinated with many other media and marketing companies. It was a group effort.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

DW: More organizations are online nowadays. We want to make sure we’re up on all social media avenues and any innovative technologies or techniques that make companies stand out.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

DW: We value our relationships with our clients, and we want to do our best to help them. At times, we haven’t charged clients what a service was really worth. That’s not the best thing to do. It seems kind, but as a result, the client might not understand all of the time and effort that will have to go into delivering a service. That misunderstanding can result in frustration on both sides.

SM: What is inspiring to you today?

DW: I love meeting people and building relationships. The opportunity to learn from each other is extremely valuable. Having those “a-ha” moments with others, or unexpectedly solving a problem, is exciting.

OFFER: Receive a free competitive analysis when you mention ActionCOACH.

 

How to Reach Us:
dRAE Media & Marketing
(502) 664-5161

Sara’s Oriental Rugs, Sam Ramazani

SM: Tell us about your business.

SR: We carry everything from museum pieces to new rugs. We have high standards for quality. If I wouldn’t put it in my house, I won’t sell it in my store. We focus on offering high-quality rugs at reasonable prices. My daughter is now the fourth generation of our family in this business.

SM: Who is your target customer?

SR: We love working with both customers and designers. But I am happy to help anyone and tell them about our great products. In fact, people sometimes tell me that I am more of a teacher than a merchant.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

SR: It had a significant impact. Some older customers are still scared to come to our shop, even though we keep everything as safe as possible.

SM: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?

SR: I have kept everything as sanitized as possible because I hope people will feel comfortable visiting.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

SR: We are getting more foot traffic due to our recent move, and we have been landing some new customers. We also repair rugs, so we’re emphasizing that part of our business. I learned to help make rugs starting at age five, so I know how to make a rug as good as new.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

SR: When I started, I would buy used rugs, repair them, and sell them to dealers. At times I paid too much money and sold the rug for too little. You learn these lessons as time goes by, but if you love what you do, you are going to wind up being successful.

SM: What is inspiring to you today?

SR: What you’re doing is inspiring! You’re trying to do something to help amid the crisis, and I think that is wonderful.

How to Reach Us:

Sara’s Oriental Rugs
227 Chenoweth Lane
Louisville, KY 40207
(502) 896-2277

Legacy Home & Estate Services, David Wilson

SM: Tell us about your business.

DW: We are a real estate and estate sale company. My partner and I worked for a large brokerage, and we saw a need for a smoother transition between the real estate part of the transaction and the estate sale portion. I handle the auctioneer duties for Legacy, while my partner manages the broker responsibilities. We have been in business for three years.

SM: Who is your target customer?

DW: Anyone who needs to liquidate the contents of a home and update the home itself would be a target customer. Often, we help people who are an executor of the estate.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

DW: We’ve been fortunate. We have an online auction services company. We’re very transparent, and people have appreciated our services. We’ve experienced enormous growth.

SM: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?

DW: During the first months of the pandemic, we delivered for free. We went outside our typical niche to help businesses that needed to liquidate property. We also helped out with various charities.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

DW: Our main goal is to continue servicing more homes in Louisville. We want to take the weight off of people who have a house full of stuff and don’t know what to do with it.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

DW: Something specific to our business that we learned was that traffic patterns have a significant effect on what we do. We also learned to make ourselves accountable to customers. If someone calls you or gives you feedback, discuss everything with them, even if you disagree with something that they say.

SM: What is inspiring to you today?

DW: The relief that we see on the faces of people we’re helping inspires us.

OFFER: Receive 50% off your in-home auction service during Legacy’s comprehensive service when you mention ActionCOACH, through June.

 

How to Reach Us:

Legacy Home & Estate Services
10466 Bluegrass Parkway
Louisville, KY 40299
(502) 500-0374

[email protected]

Pegasus Global, Carey Fieldhouse

SM: Tell us about your business.

CF: We are a ground transportation business. We transport people, not packages. Our fleet includes limousines, motor coaches, specialty and corporate transportation, and more. We transport clients locally and around the state, and our network of affiliates takes care of client needs across the country. The company began in the mid-90s.

SM: Who is your target customer?

CF: We target a variety of audiences. For example, we help many corporations with transportation for executives and large groups, and we help many tourists.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

CF: Anyone who is in the transportation business has seen major impacts. Corporate transportation has not recovered from the health and safety concerns and restrictions. People, in large part, stopped moving around for a significant time, but it appears that is starting to recover. Our plan to move to a new building was also made more complicated by the pandemic.

SM: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?

CF: Our lenders and vendors were flexible with us on terms. That made a big difference. Our liability insurance company also worked with us to keep expenses down. We also had to furlough some employees.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

CF: We will continue to grow the retail and tourism part of our business. We think there is a lot of potential growth in that sector. We will stay in close contact with our corporate clients so that we are ready to serve them when they have a need.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

CF: We believe in trying new things and taking calculated risks. That means we sometimes try things that do not work. If something doesn’t work, we move on and try something better. But to do that well, you have to measure the effects of what you’re doing. You need good data.

OFFER: Receive a corporate rate on a ride from the airport to your hotel (and back) when you mention ActionCOACH, or receive a free ride from the airport to your hotel when you purchase a bourbon tour and mention ActionCOACH.

 

How to Reach Us:      

Pegasus Global
4711 Poplar Level Rd.
Louisville, KY 40213
(502) 458-1872

[email protected]

Spring Lawn and Landscape/ASAP Tree Service, Tyler Case

SM: Tell us about your business.

TC: I started the business doing landscaping. We are heavily involved in landscape design. We do everything but cut the grass. Over time, we’ve built the tree care side of the business. We have been in business for two years.

SM: Who is your target customer?

TC: We can help anyone who has lawn maintenance needs. We help many customers with high-end yards. We often work on the east side of town, but we can help people anywhere in the area. People find us through word of mouth and referrals.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

TC: Customers have been staying home. They have wanted to do more around the house, which means there are pros and cons related to the amount of work we do.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

TC: I want to build the tree side of our business. We are always looking at the best ways to reach out to potential customers.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

TC: I should have started the business earlier! If you have an idea that you feel passionate about, go for it.

SM: What is inspiring to you today?

TC: Having enough work to keep everyone employed inspires me every day. Our employee base has grown a lot, so I am glad we can keep everyone busy and working.

Tranquility Salon & Spa, Cindy Norroy

SM: Tell us about your business.

CN: We are a salon and spa. We have been around for 20 years. We offer hair services, massages, and various aesthetician services.

SM: Who is your target customer?

CN: We appeal to a broad range of people who want to look and feel their best. We serve both men and women.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

CN: Our company did not fall into the essential business category, so we had to shut down for a while. We could not offer our service virtually. Since the start of the pandemic, we have not been able to see as many people as we would usually. Some clients are still fearful about visiting in person, but things have picked up for us in recent days.

SM: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?

CN: We have continued to keep things clean. As is the case with most salons, we were already a clean place before the pandemic brought about the need for heightened health and safety guidelines. We revamped our services to ensure we could provide services that made our clients feel pampered, and we offered excellent value for the money. We stayed in close contact with our customers.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

CN: Our top goal is to keep a happy staff. We know everything that goes into providing our services from an employee standpoint. Also, we are honing in more carefully on every number to make sure we understand our financials as accurately as possible.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

CN: You have to be aware of where your money goes. That is a trickier thing to do than it sounds. When you get it down, it reduces your level of stress and worry and gives you confidence when you put in orders or put together your budget.

SM: What is inspiring to you today?

CN: I’m grateful for my people. My friends and family are a big blessing. My children are proud of me, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m glad I’ve been able to set a good example for them in terms of hard work and achievement.

OFFER: Receive a $140 facial for $99 when you mention ActionCOACH. Purchase multiple facials with this deal as long as they are used within a year.

How to Reach Us:
Tranquility Salon & Spa
10294 Shelbyville Rd.
Louisville, KY 40223
(502) 254-2582

Tunies, Kelly Farmer

SM: Tell us about your business.

KF: We are a local boutique. We offer a variety of women’s clothing and accessories, as well as home décor. I have run the business for eight years.

SM: Who is your target customer?

KF: We serve a variety of customers. Many of our customers are women 50 years of age and older.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

KF: Walk-in sales are way down. Also, fancy attire has decreased. People do not seem to be dressing up right now the way that they did before.

SM: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?

KF: We shifted our product mix to match what our customers wanted. We offer a lot more casual attire. On the home side of things, we’ve focused more on gardening.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

KF: The big goal is to keep moving forward this year without having to let anyone go. If we can overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and all of the health and safety restrictions it has caused, we’ll be successful.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

KF: I started my store at 200 square feet and quickly expanded to 6,000 square feet. We probably could have expanded more slowly. We’re able to handle the change, but it’s more work. Thankfully, I’ve improved our buying and planning processes.

SM: What is inspiring to you today?

KF: My faith keeps me going every day.

How to Reach Us:

Tunies
1201 Herr Ln #150     
Louisville, KY 40222
(502) 618-3868

B. Deemer Gallery, Daniel Pfalzgraf

SM: Tell us about your business.

DP: More than 30 years ago, we began to showcase original works of fine art. Over the years, we have expanded into custom picture framing, packing, secondary sales, and more. As of January 1, I now own the business.

SM: Who is your target customer?

DP: Anyone who enjoys creative expression and wants to create a space that reflects their attitude. Our clients value quality and sophistication. You may be satisfied with posters at a certain point in life, but when you are ready to mature from that place, it’s time to take on a different look. We work with both corporate clients and homeowners.

SM: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

DP: We no longer have public openings or receptions. The pandemic shut us down for a few months, so that made for a pretty tough year. Fortunately, things have gone well after we were able to open up.

SM: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?

DP: We have focused more on having individual or small groups in our gallery.  We created a website that allows customers to buy directly online. We have followed all of the health and safety protocols.

SM: What are your goals for 2021?

DP: We want to eliminate barriers for people who wish to participate in the art market. We want to expand our services, from packing to art advising and more. We also want to showcase more artists.

SM: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?

DP: It doesn’t pay to be slow or cheap when it comes to customer issues. If a customer believes you’re responsible for something, you have to go above and beyond immediately, even if you aren’t actually at fault. People will remember how you handled a challenging situation much longer than the original problem.

SM: What is inspiring to you today?

DP: New art and artists inspire us. You might think that people would have produced every possible kind of art by now, but people are always coming up with something fresh and exciting.

OFFER: Come in and mention ActionCOACH between now and April 30 to receive a free hour of art installation or 10% off your framing order.

How to Reach Us:

B. Deemer Gallery
2650 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 896-6687

[email protected]

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