From our first conversation Gina felt like an old friend; her enthusiastic personality coupled with her passion for service is not only contagious but refreshing. There’s no doubt Gina cares about her team, business and most important, the customer. Gina’s passion for community, small business and a desire to succeed allows her to successfully share her story while engaging with groups large and small. Gina was tremendous addition to our Customer Service Week celebration!
I personally appreciate you sharing your blueprint for how local family businesses can continue to grow and thrive in a world of big box consolidation. As you know it is a passion we both share.
The survey results are in, and John Venhuizen is the highest rated speaker in the history of our PGA TOUR annual meetings! The unique ability that John has to combine humor, storytelling and humility into a presentation on Service Excellence is one that captured the attention of all in attendance. He seamlessly weaved the Ace Hardware concepts of Head, Heart and Hands into his session which hit home to all of our attendees. John spoke to the group in such a way that everyone felt they were having a one-on-one conversation with one of the most dynamic leaders they had ever had the chance to meet. Congratulations and many thanks for providing such a tremendous message on service and relationships to our team at the PGA TOUR.
Art Freedman has been working with our Ace Hardware retailers all over the world for the last 15 years. Art has a unique style of delivery that engages his audience immediately. Art has been an active participant in the development of our current Customer Service training and is our Helpful Expert in all of our Customer Service video training.
“Six years ago our company was growing rapidly, yet struggling to be profitable. On the recommendation of a number of our peers, we began working with Art Freedman. Art delivered immediate results by revamping our retail pricing and rounding, which drove gross margin and our bottom line up significantly. Since then, Art’s role with Costello’s has expanded greatly and he has been instrumental in our growth and success.
A talented leader and engaging speaker, Art has spent countless hours inspiring our team of associates, managers, executives, and future leaders. He has driven results in:
1. Customer Service. Through numerous training initiatives including the implementation of
Ace’s Helpful 101
2. Marketing. By promoting creativity in branding, events, and procuring vendor funds
3. Staff development. Through many self-authored presentations on store operations and leadership including Costello’s Business Academy, an introductory leadership program given to newly hired and promoted members of management in our company.
Costello’s store count has grown by 60% in this short period; Art has been integral in positioning our company for this current and continued growth. Art has done this by creating a culture of teamwork, trust and excellence. He has added value to store operations, development & training, marketing, finance, category management, retail pricing, corporate structure – virtually every aspect of our business.
Art Freedman’s talent and passion are felt everywhere in our company from board room to sales floor.
Gina quickly commanded the attention and respect of our elite independent tire dealers because she spoke with them as if she were one of them – a peer, a sister, and an entrepreneur fighting for survival. She methodically delivered a message of Tire Pros unity, of vision and of inspiration that validated our customers’ involvement in the partnership and system designed only to help them succeed.
The choice to ask Gina Schaefer to deliver the key note address at the 2015 Langenfeld Annual Meeting was a huge motivational success. Gina’s street level knowledge of the consumer, associate motivational needs and general business acumen made every theme she delivered something we could all relate to in our business. A simple focused presentation coupled with Gina’s embracing delivery style was met with a well-deserved standing ovation at the conclusion of the address.
As a company that firmly upholds our values, it was important for us to find a speaker for our annual Leadership Summit who would inspire our leaders by encouraging values-based behavior. Tom Knox’s presentation as our keynote speaker not only successfully accomplished what we were looking for, but also complemented our Summit in an entertaining and encouraging way. Through his presentation on value-based leadership, our leaders learned the importance of enhancing their unique leadership skills with the company’s values in order to find success. I know that Tom’s insight resonated well with our audience, and we continue use pieces of his presentation every day to support the success of our leaders and our company.
I was recently pleased to welcome Gina Schaefer to a Hannaford Leadership Meeting where she served as an inspiring keynote speaker.
Hannaford, a successful regional grocer, is in the midst of identifying ways that we can enhance our delivery model through calculated risk-taking and changing paradigms. In an era of disruption, Hannaford is eager to learn from others about approaches that not only distinguish us in the markets where we do business, but also in ways that align with our strategy and core values.
Gina’s perspective was not only relevant but thought-provoking. Of particular interest were her views on engaging and supporting local communities, a cornerstone of both the Hannaford and the Ace Hardware model. She also provided insight to store-modeling for new geographies, including integration into urban markets and the “thinking out of the box” innovation required to achieve success in otherwise saturated areas.
Gina’s insight, wit, authenticity, and ability to connect with a diverse group of leaders around a common theme made her an exceptional addition to our annual summit.
We are a general merchandise retailer as well as a manufacturer and wholesaler. Art Freedman has done several Customer Service Trainings with our entire team. Art’s real world experience, knowledge of Ace Hardware’s Customer Service techniques and presentation style has enabled our company to develop a culture of service which far outpaces our competition.