Starting at ground level suited Audrey Garard just fine. She began her career as a sales representative, first at Springfield Granite Co., then Grooms Office Environments.
“I knew nothing about the industry or even who Herman Miller was,” she recalls. “But I saw a job opening on Monster.com for a sales position at Grooms.”
Garard crushed it. She owned the high sales mark for three straight years, quickly moving to sales manager, then chief operating officer. Up next was buying the company from founder Olin Grooms. She and husband Jonathan closed on the deal in 2015. In the three years since, business has doubled from $7.5 million in 2014 revenue. Along the way, she became the youngest owner, at 34, of a Herman Miller dealership in the country.
What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? I have recently started volunteering to stay overnight at Safe To Sleep, Springfield’s only homeless women’s shelter. On any given night between 30-50 women stay there.
When did you realize you had grown up? The first time I signed paychecks.
What about your job would shock people? I spend a lot of time talking about bedbugs and I have to be tested for tuberculosis once a year.
What did you learn the hard way? If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
What is your proudest moment? When I turned the key to my own business for the first time.
Local medical marijuana dispensaries must find ways to get creative with their marketing in light of industry advertising regulations released this summer by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.