463: Carl Atwell on Entrepreneurship and Valued Relationships.
Keeping people at the core of small business success.
Carl has spent 25 years working toward the dream of someday owning a company centered around employees and customers. In January he purchased Gempler’s, an 80-year-old farm-and-home-store that helps anyone who works outdoors. Gempler’s is an independent farming and outdoor-work supply company with a promise to treat you like a neighbor, not a number. They provide innovative products to make the hardest outdoor jobs easier with fair pricing, and friendly service every time.
In This Podcast:When an entrepreneurial opportunity came his way, Carl Atwell jumped on board with a passion. He is now president of Gempler’s and is building it again with a commitment towards his customers and employees. He shares the story of how Gempler’s was created with a focus on good values and how he connected with that. He also explains how the relationship with his customers and employees is so important to him and to his vision for the company.
Listen in and learn about:
- Spent long time working for other people while holding a dream for something entrepreneurial
- Found an opportunity with Gempler’s
- Loved the authentic history with a commitment to helping people who work in the soil
- He wanted to take the company back to its roots
- It was a tire store for rural America
- Trying to build business, the previous owner Steve Schleck sold tires through direct marketing
- Built the business around phenomenal customer service and good values
- When the company went corporate it lost some of it’s unique
- How Urban Farm became connected to Gempler’s
- Being in the right place at the right time
- The values he learned from working at Land’s End
- How Gempler’s originally started with the wrong products but the right values
- The vision that centers on the customer
- Solving problems with commercial grade products
- Risking everything to start this commitment and knowing that failure is not an option
- Where Gempler’s is going next
- Wanting to make it easier for the customers to shop
As well as:
His failure – Replacing the nerve center and web platform within 90 days and ran into challenges that affected their service.
His success – His relentless determination to keep going
His drive – The desire to get better everyday
His advice – If you have restlessness, don’t ignore it – pay attention to it. Don’t get daunted by ‘how do I do it?’ just do it!
Carl’s Book recommendations:
The Carrot Seed (1993) Board book by Ruth Krauss
How to reach Carl: