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9. Get Clear On Expectations. | Bruce’s Message

Bruce’s Message:

Many times, what we think someone wants may not be what they are thinking. If you go to the paint store and ask for a gallon of white paint, the associate will not just go to the shelf, grab a can and give it to you. They will ask you if you want the Whitney white, Shadow white, Chalk white, etc.

This is why we should never assume we know what a customer, internal or external, wants until we have fully listened to them. Many times we hear the first part of their conversation and think we know what their need is. Jim Sage reminds us in IT of this all the time. If we’re not careful, we may spend a lot of time working on a project only to find out it is not what the customer wants. Then, we must go back and spend more time reworking the project to give the customer what they wanted. This would not have been necessary had we just listened to the customer from the start.

Assume for a minute you are working with an external customer on a large project. One of the most important questions we need to ask the customer is “When do you need the product?” and “do you need it all at once?”. By getting these simple questions answered, we can be sure to have the product when the customer needs it. Just as important, we shouldn’t order the product too early and tie up operating capital and warehouse space.
Remember to take a minute, get all the information and ask questions. It will save time and we’ll deliver a better customer experience.



Bruce Raff
Director of Training

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8. Honor Commitments | Jim’s Message

Jim’s Message:

Let’s reverse the words in this fundamental for a moment.

Commitment: the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity.
Honor: to fulfill an obligation or keep an agreement.

At the beginning of each year, we make personal commitments such as weight loss, better eating, more exercise, being on time for work, or starting with a great attitude each day, improved family connections, etc.

Commitments are easy to make, and we might be very dedicated to them………. for a while.

It’s much harder to stay true and honor those activities over a long period of time.

If you don’t fulfill some of your personal commitments, you may not feel it will make much difference, as you can always retry later.

But in business, — we may not get a chance to retry later.

We need to stay committed to what we agree to for every customer. We need to be sure to fulfill our obligations daily.

Personally, I try to improve my response to the commitments I make daily.

I also recognize that I depend on many others, which allow a quick, and accurate response to our customers. The support groups in Famous Supply are first rate, and I appreciate the dedication they show each day,

Thank you,


Jim Hohman
Outside Sales

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7. Collaborate | Katelynn’s Message

Katelynn’s Message:

“You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.” – Jim Stoval

This fundamental is so important any way you look at it. Teamwork is one of our Core Values, and it is important that we all remember it.

I have the privilege to work with some great people that go above and beyond to help our customers. I have never worked in an environment such as this. It’s refreshing to see everyone work together to get the job done. I am especially grateful for Amber Swartz in the showroom. Her knowledge and abilities help me with tasks and designing every day. I also have many other people here in Toledo that are willing to answer any and all questions I may have.
When we all strive to work together, we get the best possible outcome for our customers. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and when we help others anything is possible!


Katelynn Smith
Interior Designer/Showroom Consultant / Famous Toledo

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6. See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It. | Lexi’s Message

Lexi’s Message:

I first heard this phrase when I joined Bruce Raff & Dan Reed’s Eclipse training team back in the day…

As Eclipse trainers, we were sometimes approached with questions that we didn’t know the answer to. My teammates at the time passed along the wisdom of this fundamental to me by their examples. If we knew the answer, the direction was clear; explain and train using “the why”.

When we didn’t know the answer, it was important to:

• “See it & own it”: care enough to step up, get the support needed and learn about something new.

• “Solve it & do it”: get the subject matter experts and necessary teams involved for collaboration opportunities and solutions.

It’s important as a team to step up to support one another professionally and personally. Even if it means helping to guide someone in the right direction when you’re not the expert in that specific area.

When we care enough to take ownership and help find solutions together, we’re automatically heading in the right direction.

“Accountability is a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving Key Results: See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It.” – Roger Connors


Alexis “Lexi” Elliott
Learning & Development Manager | Famous Enterprises

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5. Be A Fanatic About Response Time. | Amy’s Message

Amy’s Message: 

The old saying “time is money” is all around the service industry. Time is a valuable resource. Therefore, it is better to do things as quickly as possible. However, with everyone connected by email, social media or cell phone, we’ve become used to having our questions and concerns acknowledged now. We know that they received our question! So what is the response?

Unfortunately, that is where the trouble begins. It is so easy to send off a quick comment or perceived answer without digging into the “meat” of the concern. E-mail chains or phone tags begin as we try to narrow down the real need. As we already know, everything is not black and white, and as easily answered in a quick response. In HR, there are many circumstances that require extra digging to address the issue. I am really lucky to work so closely with Lisa Stacks, who has built and retained such knowledge in dealing with so many internal issues. It is important to learn from the individuals around you to build your own base of knowledge. (Especially when it deals with payroll and your money.) I find that when I communicate with fellow associates, it is better to step back for an instant, fully understand their need, and not just interject with the first thing that comes to mind. We all need to work with co-workers to be consistent across the board, and give the correct information. 

It is very important to respond timely, manage priorities and set reminders to follow up. It is also important to clearly communicate and do things right the first time. We cannot rush through the day and do one without the other. Our customers and associates deserve the best, and we are “on it”!!

Thank you,


Amy Beegle

Payroll Coordinator

4. Deliver Memorable Service The FAMOUS Way. | Ryan’s Message

Ryan’s Message:

“Order up!”

How many of us remember the good old days, where we’d go as a family to the local diner and watch the cook lovingly tend his grill as they prepared our meals? As children we’d watch anxiously as they’d slather the grill top in butter, add a liberal helping of salt and a pinch of care to our breakfasts. It’s a memory remembered with fondness because you knew that the cook’s attention to detail, and that extra helping of love and care for their craft made your two dippy eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast absolutely delectable!

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I don’t think truer words have ever been said. Customer service is more than just attending to the customer’s needs. It’s about knowing what the customer wants and needs and meeting them in any way possible to exceed their expectations.

When our customers call, they’re waiting for us to help them get what they need. The way we answer the phone sets the tone for our customers’ experience with us. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was to smile each time you pick up and start your greeting. Someone who truly exhibits and practices this is Jenny Bryant at the Melwood branch! Jenny receives everyone, whether over the phone or in person, in a way that makes them immediately smile, or gives them a good hearty chuckle!

Experiences like these are what makes good customer service critical to the development of our brand. As Sam Walton said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And they can fire everyone in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending their money somewhere else”.

Making our customers feel welcome to our service, expert advice, and Famous Family feeling allows them to set aside whatever troubles they may be experiencing for just a brief moment. This has the effect of making them feel part of our extended family! Much like the cook, standing over his grill and fixing our delicious meal, we all have the opportunity to affect, in even the smallest way, how our customers feel our “Famous” customer service, and keep them coming back for seconds, thirds and more!


Ryan McGee
Inside Sales, Melwood

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3. Personalize Our Purpose. | Deb’s Message

Deb’s Message:
When I first read this fundamental, I immediately thought of Judy Noll. Judy has been with Famous Supply for 47 years as the Administrative Assistant at the Wheeling branch. Judy has devoted her life to Famous since she was a senior in high school. She has built many meaningful relationships with her fellow associates, customers, and suppliers that she has encountered throughout her years at Famous.

I joined Famous Supply 5 years ago and have watched and listened to Judy building these relationships with everyone. Judy answers the phones for the branch and gets to know our customers by taking the time to truly talk with them. She might never meet them in person, but she still has a personal connection with the customers and vendors.

Part of her job is also collections. Having strong relationships with customers is critical to success in this role. She works with the customers to make sure they pay on time. If they absolutely can’t, she’s flexible and work’s “In the Grey Zone” to come to a solution that works for both us and the customer.

I feel Judy lives by a famous quote by Maya Angelou: “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well people can’t take their eyes off of you.” Over the years, people just come to her office to stop in and say hi or call her just to talk to her about something that happened in their life.

Personalizing our purpose is one reason Famous Supply stands out from the competition. I hope all associates in our company can learn from Judy and build on our company’s purpose.


Debbie Rankin
Customer Service Manager / Wheeling Famous Supply

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2. Execute The Perfect Order. | Sean’s Message

Sean’s Message:

Nobody’s perfect, right? That’s true of us humble humans; however, we can experience perfection in certain life goals. There’s the perfect game in baseball, a perfect game in bowling, or a perfect score on an exam. We as imperfect humans often have the opportunity to perform one task perfectly. Such is our goal with every order we process as a company. We must try to be perfect in each phase of the order process and take the necessary time to check for common pitfalls. Our metrics for The Perfect Order must also align with our customer’s idea of receiving the Perfect Order. We need to always be looking at things from our customer’s point of view. They are the only ones grading our paper, and the success of their business is crucial to the success of ours.

Executing The Perfect Order encompasses so many of our Famous Fundamentals, but the one that it probably most aligns with is “Deliver Results”. At the end of the day that’s what executing a Perfect Order gets us; results. We must be constant in our pursuit of perfection, from the beginning to the end. This also means we all must remain accountable, and keep those involved around us accountable for every order.

As an inside sales associate, we are the point person on most orders. It is our responsibility to make sure the product codes are entered correctly, delivery addresses and instructions are clearly communicated, and pricing is consistent. The Perfect Order starts well before this, however. It starts with the outside salesmen, CSM’s and DSM’s creating and building those relationships and getting to know the customer’s business on a personal level. They make sure a product isn’t just sold, but the customer’s problem is solved. It also starts with being able to offer our products at a competitive price, allowing our customers to be competitive in their market. Our purchasing team does a great job working with our vendors to make sure we are buying product right, and that we have it in stock. Next, to meet our customer’s deadline we must have effective communication between sales, purchasing, and warehousing/logistics. One person cannot deliver The Perfect Order. There are so many associates that play a part in just one sales process, so we all must take ownership.   

As the great Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” As a company, overall perfection is not a reality. We will make a mistake or two along the way, but if we strive for perfection on every order those mistakes will become the exceptions that prove the rule. And by rule, we are excellent.        

Sean Hrabusa
Inside Sales | Famous Supply – JF Good

1. Do The Right Thing, Always. | Pam’s Message

Pam’s Message:

As a scout leader we teach our scouts the oath and law. The first law for boy scouts is to be trustworthy. This means a scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises.  People can depend on him. In girl scouts, the first law is to do your best to be honest and fair. If you make a mistake, tell the truth about it and don’t feel ashamed. Both oaths start with On My Honor. The scout gives their word and makes a promise.

These words are so important. It is how we all want to live our lives. We aren’t perfect and sometimes we fail but keeping these values on top of your mind can guide us in the future.

Why is honesty so important in everyday life? It involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair and sincere.

As C.S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

And as Tony Blair said, “Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing”

Have a great week and do the right thing!


Pam Ferguson
Accounts Payable/Corp

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40. Keep Things Fun. | Gary’s Message

Gary’s Message:

When I picked this fundamental, I picked it because I love having fun at work and at home. I truly enjoy coming to work every day because of the fun we have at Famous Melwood.

Whether it’s Jim Billeter signing a song too loudly and off key, or Chuck Bauer popping out of nowhere to scare someone, we have a great team and a great environment at Melwood.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I got to see how powerful this fundamental truly is.

My son’s varsity football team had just lost a playoff game that would have sent them to the championship. Pretty much every boy was crying, and some were so mad they were yelling at their teammates. In that moment, they had lost what seemed to be the most import thing in their young lives – enjoying the journey with their teammates. As the JV game started soonafter, I looked over on the sidelines and the varsity team had already gotten over it. The same boys who were just upset over losing were now joking, laughing and getting along. You would never know they had just lost the game.

That’s the power of FUN!

Gary Bevan
Quotes/Pittsburgh Plumbing

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