Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.
What do you do and how long have you been doing it? We offer an alternative approach to traditional wood refinishing. We prep cabinets, floors, any interior wood service. We can do any wood surface without the need to sand, and it's a clean, dust-free process. We can do color changes at a fraction of the cost of replacing or refacing. We can usually do a job in one or two days and color change in four or five days. We are starting our sixth year in January.
How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? We've lived here for 14 years. I lived in Roseburg before that, and Lorie lived in the Chicago suburb of Elgonquin, Ill.
What inspired you to go into this line of work? We both had different careers. Lorie was an administrative assistant and I was a warehouse manager for many years for furniture companies, and I drove truck for many years. We reached a plateau and decided to explore going into business for ourselves, and after doing some research, we went into this line of work. It was a relatively quick transition. We bought the business in January and were up and running in February, so it was pretty quick.
What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? Over the years, we've made a lot of expensive mistakes in advertising. I'd be a little wiser and make better decisions in that kind of thing. We'd try to be a little more targeted. Our target market is primarily middle-aged home owners with at least a medium income. Usually we attract a female audience, as well. It's been a great service for new home buyers and for people wanting to sell their homes and have the surfaces looking nice.
What's the toughest business decision you've made? Whether to expand or not. We went from serving four counties to seven counties — Coos, Curry, Douglas, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Lake. I'm a licensed contractor in Oregon and with the nature of our business, the work can go up and down. One month we may be jamming and really, really busy and the next month it may taper down a bit. Generally speaking, we have enough work to keep one technician going pretty much full time. We typically have at least one technician working for us. Right now we are in the process of considering hiring someone. We've had up to four additional people working with us in the past. Some of it is seasonal. When the economy slowed down, that's when we had to release some of the people.
Who are your competitors? Our competitors are traditional wood refinishers, and the economy has taken its toll on some of them. I couldn't give you a real answer to how many there are. There aren't a lot of competitors in the phone books any more.
What are your goals? We certainly want to expand our business and just grow — that's what we hope and pray for. We won't go into California, because I'm not licensed in California.
What training or education did you need? We got some up-front training, but a lot of it is what you learn as you go. You learn different techniques, and improve with time and age. We had technical training for this business down in Logan, Utah, and go to periodic training sessions, as well.
What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? Pray about it first. Believe in what you do. We are honest and ethical, and try to provide the very best customer service we can. Don't be afraid to stick your neck out there. Anybody is going to make mistakes in business, don't beat yourself up over them, just learn from them.
To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.