Rather, this is about my husband, Mark. Yesterday he retired from working in kitchen design and cabinet sales for the last thirty years, all for the same company.
When he started back in June of 1986, our son was 8 years old. And now our son has his own 8-year-old (and nearly 10-year-old, 5-year-old and 3-year-old!). In those first days, it was just two of them, Herb doing the office work and Mark out in the wild, cold calling, drumming up as much business as he could.
As Lowes and Home Depot opened up, the dealer market kind of dried up, as people would buy directly from the big box stores and often eliminate the middle man--the kitchen design dealer.
He was on the road less, at least out of town, as he developed relationships with all the local contractors in town--the ones who build the big tracts. He has worked with most of them for about 25 years. During that time, he also did countless remodels and custom homes as well.
He has earned customer loyalty because he has remained "old school." What do I mean by that? In this day when most employees work their job from 8 to 5, Mark went the extra mile, often going many extra miles. He was at work early and stayed late. He worked nights. He worked weekends. When customers, who worked full time themselves, could only meet him after they were off work, he didn't say, "I'm sorry. Our business closes at 5 p.m. And no, we are not open on the weekends."
He met them on their time schedule, no matter that it often meant putting in 50 to 60 hours of work per week. If you are in sales, that is what you do. You sell. You don't lose a sale because you are off the time clock.
He still found the time for his family, because they mean more to him than anything.
For 22 out of those 30 years, he was a part owner. But whether he was owner or employee, he gave it his all.
And last night was his retirement dinner. It was a lovely evening. Dinner was delicious, from the spinach salad with fresh fruit and candied walnuts, to the halibut and risotto (me) and filet mignon (Mark) to the super rich chocolate dessert.
Herb, Eyon, Will, Chris, Ivette, Mark, Lisa, Miguel, Scott
This is the family Mark has worked with for the past 30 years--the father, Herb, and two sons, Chris and Will.
Chris, Katie, Herb, Joan, Mark, me, Chrissy, Will
I can't even begin to put into words how proud I am of this man I have been married to for the past 43 years. He is a man of high principles, integrity and a work ethic that now seems unusual instead of the norm. We have adventures planned...spending time drinking coffee in the morning, on a weekday at the zoo just because it's such a cool place,
And we will enjoy spending extra time together. We have both been looking forward to this new phase in our lives with anticipation. I can't think of anyone I would rather share that time with.