Evelyn Krug says WinWholesale is the place to be
The wholesale business is in Evelyn Krug’s blood. She’s been in it since she was 20 years old except for a few years when she tried some other things. But she missed the customers and came back to wholesaling and Noland Company’s location in Mountain Home, Ark., where she previously worked.
Noland Company is a WinWholesale wholly-owned subsidiary with more than 70 plumbing, and heating and air conditioning equipment locations in the Southeast.
Evelyn, manager of the Mountain Home location, attributes missing the customers to the fact that she’s a people person. “Most of my customers are like brothers. I’ve known them for more than 20 years,” she said. This, no doubt, means Mountain Home customers are treated very well and are the first priority as they receive exceptional customer service.
No two days are the same
Over the years Evelyn paid her dues and learned the business from the ground up. She started with inside sales on the counter and continued to work the counter while taking on office duties. “Then we got a manager who probably hadn’t worked in a corporation so I helped him with his position. When he left I became the manager,” Evelyn explained. She’s now in her seventh year as manager.
“I like the challenges and learning new things. I’m all for change. In no single day do you do the same thing or have people ask for the same thing,” Evelyn said.
It’s fortunate that Evelyn is all for change because in 2005 change came for Noland when WinWholesale acquired the 90-year-old company to fill gaps in its Southeast market.
She has found the communication within WinWholesale and the information shared with her to be especially helpful in managing her local company. “The WinWholesale organization is so helpful. I haven’t found anyone not willing to help,” she said.
With the acquisition came WinWholesale’s business philosophy embodied in what it calls The Spirit of Opportunity. That refers to the entrepreneurial spirit of the company and its employees, and the opportunity to do well professionally and personally through investing in a local company. It also refers to working hard and smartly in that company to serve customers by meeting their needs.
Local companies make their own decisions – not the corporate office
At WinWholesale, local companies have the authority to make decisions that are best for customers and the company based on their market conditions and business circumstances. Local companies with the Win brand, such as Winnelson and Winair, are independent corporations with local ownership and WinWholesale providing a majority equity stake. WinWholesale provides centralized support services, such as accounting and IT, to Win and Noland local companies.
The local ownership business model is gradually being introduced to Noland locations, which is a change from the traditional branch/corporate top-down management style Noland used.
“The Spirit of Opportunity means the sky is the limit. You could start out as a truck driver and have your own store,” Evelyn said, which has happened more than once at WinWholesale. “It’s a matter of do you want to apply yourself and learn the business? With the Win companies you can excel and succeed to any level you want.”
Evelyn believes the person who has the best chance to succeed at WinWholesale, regardless of their job, is someone devoted to the business and wants to learn. The wrong questions to ask her are:
“What are my hours, and how long is lunch?” Ask her: “What can I do when I’m here, and is there a potential to go higher on the ladder?”
Evelyn: “I never thought I could excel to this level.”
For Evelyn, the independence and feeling of accomplishment has been surprising to her. “I never thought I could excel to this level. The help they (WinWholesale) give in trying to help you succeed is amazing,” she said. “My goal is to succeed and have a profit sharing check again this year.”
The slow economy hasn’t made that goal any easier, but Evelyn’s local company is dealing with it. Before the economy began to deteriorate, Mountain Home was heavily into supplying residential construction. Now the company is bidding on and getting commercial jobs and supplying repair work. “The economy has slowed us down, but it hasn’t stopped us,” Evelyn said.
Not long ago Evelyn hired a new truck driver. “I told him he couldn’t ask for a better place to work. If you’re career minded, the WinWholesale organization is definitely the place you need to be.” she said to him.