On the Career Move
There is a vocation out there for everybody, and when you find yours you'll be as excited about it as Emily Huffman is. Her vocation, it just so happens, is selling and repairing appliances.
"I love it," said Emily. "It changes everyday, it's
challenging.I kind of became addicted to trying to
solve the puzzles."
Emily started working at Resort Appliance in Bluffton as an office manager in 2006. "I was just a stay-at-home mom and I kind of felt like I was never
going to meet anyone unless I got out of the house," she recalls. "So I found this job and I had no idea it was going to be a career move."
Three years later, she's in the process of purchasing the business from her previous employers, who opened Resort Appliance 29 years ago. By January of 2010, the transition will be complete and Emily will own a business that she knows from the ground up. In the beginning, she learned a lot by simply being "inquisitive" and soaking knowledge up like a sponge. Now her own staff is often surprised at her expertise, particularly in an industry that is dominated by men.
"It took my guys a long time to realize they could lean on me for technical advice," says Emily. "Mentally, I can fix anything, even if I'm not there
physically. The guys call me and say, I'm working on this and I've checked this and this, and I'll say, well, I've seen that happen with that type of refrigerator before. Maybe you should try this."
In fact, being a problem-solver is what Emily thrives on-from a fridge on the fritz to the towering stacks of paperwork she inherited with the business. "I don't think I could function without this much going on," insists Emily, who dispatches all the calls and answers her phone until 11 o'clock at night. "It's rewarding daily. People call me with problems-I can't wash my clothes for work, or I'm losing food in my refrigerator-and I get to tell them we'll be there in an hour. I have a whole drawer full of hand-written
letters from customers, and my guys get calls all the time because people appreciate what they do."
The important thing, she feels, is to be happy in her work and be proud of what she does; otherwise she's in the wrong profession. "I've told my guys, if I ever lose my passion for customer service or if I ever stop standing behind y'all, I promise you'll come to work the next morning and there will be a FOR SALE sign on the door. I'm not going to keep doing something I don't love."
Hometown: Fayetteville, NC
Family includes: husband John, 3 Ω year old son Harrison
Hobbies: tennis, growing orchids, spending time with family
Pet: pink cockatoo Sydney, who is learning to talk; if you ask her "What are you doing?" she responds, "Workin'."
Recent achievement: she just earned her Freon Certification-
rare for a woman
Product she's excited about right now: the Asko laundry line, which boasts a lot of industry firsts and comes with a 3-year warranty as opposed to the standard one-year
Words to do business by: "It takes twenty minutes to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."-Warren Buffet
North Carolina roots: she tries to live by the state motto, Esse quam vidieri, "To be, not to seem."