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Teamwork works, even in troubled times.


Name: Ron and Patricia Ramsey

Company: Furniture Medic

Number of Units: One

Locations: Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Years in Franchising: Since 2002

While the economy is threatening the survival of many small businesses, things have been booming for Furniture Medic franchisees Ron and Patricia Ramsey of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Serving the Cuyahoga County area for six years, this past winter has been good for business, even as the economy spiraled down. "The bad weather in winter actually helped our growth," Ron Ramsey says, "because of broken pipes and water damage." After water has been mitigated and mold treated, furniture and other items still may need repair and restoration. "We help people in a time of need," he added. With referrals flowing in from insurance providers such as MetLife and Farmers and local disaster-restoration companies, it is clear that collaboration, networking and referrals have been an important part of the success of the Ramseys' business. Work passed along by a Mentor, Ohio-based ServiceMaster Clean disaster-restoration franchise owned by Barbara Reinkoester has been helpful in keeping the opportunities coming. The ServiceMaster family of brands emphasizes collaboration so it is not hard to see why the Ramseys' business is thriving even in troubling times.

Just as the company's other franchise brands lift each other up through collaboration and sharing opportunities, the Ramseys have helped others in their community. Speaking regularly for civic, business and social events such as the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, has helped educate others about opportunities to build businesses and become their own bosses. The Ramseys care deeply about sharing their advice with aspiring entrepreneurs. One never knows where a seed of inspiration is planted. After they shared some advice in a casual conversation with Cleveland Heights couple John and Amonica Davis during an Urban League of Greater Cleveland event on entrepreneurism, the Davises applied for and were granted a Shane Battier Franchise Scholarship, launched by ServiceMaster Clean, which granted the Davises a janitorial license worth more than $30,000, a laptop computer, $5,000 in start-up marketing funds and ongoing assistance throughout the first year of their business. Among the advice the Ramseys pass along to aspiring franchisees is to research the franchise system and its home office thoroughly, to investigate the state requirements, and to set up accounting and management systems before opening the doors.

The Ramseys also spend time letting others know about the benefits of minority certification. They applied for the Minority Business Enterprise certification with the City of Cleveland, the city's school board, the Ohio state government and Cuyahoga County in 2007. Minority certifications are important because government agencies and many large corporations are required to contract with a certain amount of minority- and women-owned companies through supplier-diversity programs. While Patricia Ramsey sees a chance to use their minority certification more in the future, "people come to us now," she says, "because they need our services and they have heard good things about our high-quality work."

With many people losing jobs, many see franchising with fresh eyes. Even though it may seem like a leap, the rewards of entrepreneurship can outweigh the risks, assure the Ramseys. "I always wanted my own business," Ron says. He turned a 30-year woodworking hobby into a full-time job with Furniture Medic. To do that, he voluntarily left a career as an information systems project manager. Becoming a franchisee has given the Ramseys the opportunity to motivate and employ part-time and contract employees even through the recession, thanks to the service-industry being more recession-resistant than many other industries. They are also continuing their marketing during the recession. Three years since launching, they now generate more business leads through the Web site than they do through their Yellow Pages advertising. After all, they are certain, there will always be pipes bursting somewhere, and someone needed to put the pieces back together of a treasured piece of furniture, whether economic times are good or bad. Ron and Patricia Ramsey have shown that by planting the seed of entrepreneurship and nurturing it with networking, service to others and collaboration, a small business can weather a recession long enough for opportunity to bloom.
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Comment:Teamwork works, even in troubled times.(EIGHTH ANNUAL MINORITIES IN FRANCHISING SPECIAL EDITION)(Ron and Patricia Ramsey)
Publication:Franchising World
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U3OH
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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