Mon, May 20, 2024

Speakers shine at ABD’s Inspire 24

Stephanie Stuckey stuck out her neck four years ago and put in her life savings of $500,000 to buy back her family business. “Before, there was Racetrac or Love’s or TA’s or Buc-ees, there was Stuckey’s, “she told a packed ballroom of 100 attendees at the Hyatt House on Broad Street. Stephanie’s father sold the company and stores for $12 Million in the 1980’s, but different owners caused it to fail and she inherited dilapidated stores and environmental issues.

Her former career as an environmental attorney helped her. “I have a passion for standing up for the underdog and using skills to apply all my passion to reviving my family’s brand,” she said. That includes hitting the road most weeks to do speaking engagements, visit trade shows, stores, and sign candy deals with CEOs from national stores like Books-A-Million and Hobby Lobby.

After signing autographed copies of her new book “Unstuck,” Stephanie left Augusta for Winchester, Virginia to speak to a group of 1,200 on Wednesday morning. She also works at the Stuckey exhibit at various candy trade shows and posts on her own social media with an extensive following on LinkedIn.

Next up was marketing expert, Kate Sanders, the former CEO of Alison South Marketing, who shared the stories of an automotive manufacturer client and a banking institution client. She said the automotive client was constantly searching for forklift operators and kept stopping and starting employment campaigns and had trouble increasing its workforce.

The bank, with branches in Augusta and several Georgia cities, was consistent and saw 100% growth year after year.

“If you keep your (marketing) stuff going and you average it out, you are going to spend less money than by turning it off and starting it again, especially if new competitors come into the market.

She also guided the audience through the customer journey to take a prospect from being aware of your product or service to recommending others to also do business with them.

Sanders spoke of the importance for businesses to utilize earned media as much as possible, such as getting articles written, or getting social media engagements vs. having to spend large amounts of money on buying ads.

“Studies show, people trust seeing a story (about your company) much more than seeing an ad,” she said.

Three Human Resource professionals from Goodwill of Middle Georgia and the CSRA shared reasons the non-profit has been able to hire and retain 1,200 people in both markets at dozens of stores and at Fort Eisenhower and Warner Robins Air Force Base.

Their talk centered around the importance of developing a plan to work with employees of all generations in a diverse way, so that everyone feels valued and appreciated. Olivia Wynn, Director of H.R. in Augusta (pictured above) said their employees range in ages from 16 to 90.

“We’ve seen success in putting someone from every walk of life at the table from different generations, different backgrounds, different industry backgrounds. We got rid of the statement this is the way we’ve always done it,” said Wynn.

ABD senior reporter, Dana Lynn McIntyre will have more in tomorrow’s edition about Stephanie Stuckey’s comeback story and on how ABD vendors feel about the state of the economy.

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