You might think if your business is in the tank, the rest is downhill.
But not if you're Andy Brahms, chief executive of
The firm, celebrating its 30th anniversary, launched its business introducing the center-pull towel dispenser to this area, and restroom supplies continue to be the company's core business. The firm has grown to sell more than 50,000 products to 25,000 customers worldwide, and recently expanded and now employs more than 120 people.
While personal need products tend to be recession-proof, customer service isn't, says Brahms. There are many supply options and providers in this competitive market, so its with a sharp focus on creating lasting relationships with employees and clients that makes the difference, he says.
How do you encourage employee loyalty?
Annually, we host a movie night, bowling night,
The President's Club recognizes associates who meet certain sales goals with an annual trip.
We recently invested in the home office, re-doing the conference room and office space for a more wide-open feel and pleasant work environment for the entire staff.
How do you create business continuity?
Cultivate relationships by being accessible.
Educate the consumer about products and price points, including how highly concentrated products, when diluted correctly, cost pennies on the dollar per gallon or how a superior paper towel will reduce waste by using less product.
Become the information source by gauging need and advising clients about product trends and changes.
Why are you successful?
We invest in our employees with training and mentoring and have very low turnover.
We understand the importance of rewarding employees for their hard work.
Staff goes the extra mile for our customers, and their contact is not just over e-mail.
We are always looking toward the future.
We recently acquired a manufacturing business, and we will step more into that realm next year.
Andy Brahms guided Armchem through two expansions over the last year. As a result, the company experienced its greatest growth in 30 years.
How the company moved onward:
Took ownership: Purchased the building the company was leasing, and became landlord to 6 tenants.
Increased customer support: Created a 5,000-square-foot call center and hired 15 new inside salespeople/support staff.
Enhanced inventory, logistics: Increased their storage space by 4,000 square feet and hired additional warehouse staff.