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.
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.
“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.
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.
Tom’s message was very relevant and meaningful. He challenged our company and our customers with some ideas on how to improve business. There is credibility in his message because he feels and faces similar challenges every day at Ace. I would recommend Tom to most any business interested in a message that is real and can make an impact.
We were recently honored by John Venhuizen’s participation in our spring conference. Our organizations share many commonalities including our cooperative structure, being retail driven and our “David vs. Goliath” challenges. John’s keynote exhibited the passion and “Servant Heart” he and his team share in supporting Independents. Further, John captured the hearts and minds of our audience with the right mix of humor and impactful information. We deeply appreciated John’s powerful message and Ace’s example of success.
Sit back and listen to Gina Schaefer. She is bright, witty, entertaining, and laser-sharp in her focus. Gina is determined to translate her love of people and her passion for business into determined advocacy to motivate those lucky to be mentored by her. Gina’s biography is unique and inspirational for those of us able to learn from her example. A small business owner for just eleven years, Gina is a clear success story as she and her husband have grown their chain of Ace Hardware stores to 9.
Gina “leaned forward” long before it was fashionable, parlaying her business acumen, market savvy and enthusiasm for women in business to not only be flourishing on her own, but to serve as a role model for women everywhere desiring a meaningful career in small business. In her role as a member of the Board of Directors of Ace Hardware Corporation, Gina is uniquely positioned to spread her message amongst the young, up and coming cadre of future business leaders at Ace. Don’t misunderstand me though: Gina is more than an advocate for women in business. She “gets” the importance of Main Street to the vitality and health of our economy and quality of life. On the local and national level, Gina is a tireless advocate for diversity and vibrancy in our local economies, and will share her knowledge about why shopping local makes such a huge difference.
Your passion for customer service and developing employees was not only evident, but infectious. Your very relevant examples illustrated the how and why of paying attention to the details and left everyone with a renewed focus on going home and putting these principles into practice immediately. As a group of small business owners, your message certainly hit home and you instantly established credibility with your background of small business ownership.
Art Freedman has brought a new way of thinking to our retailers in Ireland. The education Art has brought to our conferences from his “real world” experiences and his passionate presentation works very well in our country. Art’s energy has a way of not only inspiring the participants but also mobilizing them to ACT when they return to their business. When it comes to Customer Service, no one in the world I know of can present this message in a way that everyone can understand. When the participants leave, they have the confidence and knowledge, along with the inspiration to execute what they have learned