— Lisa Cecchini
In their words
I try to treat both employees and customers as family members and like you would like to be treated yourself.
In a small business where we’re selling products into the community, we get a good referral network. It’s a lot of word of mouth that’s used for advertising. You treat somebody right, and they’re going to tell their friend, who ends up buying a machine. [SuperMax Tools makes drum, brush, and wide belt sanders.]
People will post things about our company on the Internet. If you treat people right, the word spreads. If you look at our website, there are several postings of people saying, ‘What I hear about your company is true. You treat us well.’
Norm Richards, a retired gentleman down in Arizona, had a big machine, a 50-inch machine for doing table tops. We sold that for him. He came to us and said, ‘I’m retired, I’ve got cancer.’ We said, ‘OK, we’ll help you sell that machine because you don’t need it anymore.’ So, we sold that. . . . We treated him the way I would treat my father.
Father [Thomas] Dufner has been a big influence in my life. And my wife Jackie [has also been influential]. And, Warren’s a good example to me. We’re all on the same page; we’re all trying to do the same thing. You hear about it on Sunday morning, and we try to live it out at home, and you just continue that at your business, in your marketplace.
The way you treat people and, in return, hope to be treated is what we’ve learned from the time we were kids — with respect, to do what is right, and to do what is morally correct.
It is the way you work from day to day and interact with people. I just continue that with every conversation. I think back to things that I was taught as a child growing up. Some of my favorite learning experiences have been with priests over [the course of] my life, and you hang on to that. There’s a lot more logic to our faith than I think a lot of people realize. And, that’s something I’ve really come to appreciate as I’ve gotten older.
Some of the people who work for us part time were customers originally. We’ve got two different gentlemen that have helped us with trade shows. They do things for us and are ambassadors for our company, and they started out as customers. And, that was because they liked working for us, they liked the way we did things, how we treated them.
Now, they’re happy to do things for us. You ask them, and there’s no hesitation. They do it, and they know they’re treated fairly. Because they liked working with us, they became more than customers. They became part of the family and got involved with the business.
My wife, very much so, has been my rock. She keeps me thinking, as does Bill. That’s something I’ve appreciated since early meetings and working for him. I’ve come to respect him more every day, and I try and be more like him.
Company: SuperMax Tools, Eagan
Parish: Holy Family, St. Louis Park
Children: Andrew, Hannah, Juliana, Amy, Matthew, Peter, Sam
Activities: Parish volunteer, president of Holy Family Academy school board
Company: SuperMax Tools
Title: Vice president
Parish: Corpus Christi, Roseville
Activities: Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, parish volunteer