Hospitality The Family Way
Wednesday - October 31, 2007
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Furniture, fixtures and equipment were the breakfast-table banter at my family’s house while growing up. My parents weren’t talking about our furniture or remodeling the house, but were discussing the family business. I knew more about fixtures than the average adult, let alone an 11-year-old, so it was the next logical step to become the owner of Summa Hawaii - Hospitality Purchasing, Project Management, and Consultation.
From the very beginning, I understood product value, time management and efficiency.
I can credit those “lemonade stand” days when I was making $5 for my efforts, while my friend, who was sweeping Mr. Jones’ market, was only making 30 cents for the same amount of time.
While I was perfecting the “lemonade stand,” my parents were already business-savvy. They owned a waterbed store in the ‘80s, when waterbeds were the craze, and from there they quickly expanded to selling furniture. Soon, hotels began contacting my father, Vic Sprecher, and asking if they could purchase the interior goods for their properties. Summa Hospitality was born and continues to thrive today.
As a natural progression, I decided to carry on the family legacy and opened the Hawaii division of Summa Hospitality in 2000. I was fortunate to have the 20-year foundation of our Mainland division and my parents to guide my efforts. Nonetheless, the first year was difficult as I tried to establish our presence in a new resort market. I spent that entire year calling everyone in Hawaii’s hospitality market to let them know who Summa was and why they should use Summa for their upcoming renovations.
By 2002, I was able to successfully branch off and create Summa Hawaii, a better fit for Hawaii’s resort industry, focusing on three hospitality areas: purchasing, project management and renovation consultation. Hospitality purchasing means that we place all products such as beds, furniture, lighting, appliances, televisions, even carpeting out to bid to three qualified vendors. The bids are then presented to our client for their selection for purchasing. Hospitality project management consists of coordinating and scheduling the removal of the old and the installation of new furniture, fixtures and equipment. Hospitality renovation consultation is an area where we work closely with the client and property to guide them with design teams, value engineering, energy management, scheduling, commercial grade product compliance and budgeting.
This small change in the company direction proved to be extremely successful. I was able to create a business model that established Summa Hawaii as one of the most-sought-after services in Hawaii’s hospitality industry. With the ever-changing market, Summa Hawaii must continue to educate ourselves in offering state-of-the-art products to the hospitality industry.
We also are always working on finding new ways to stay “green,” such as using less-toxic and water-based stains on furniture, consolidating freight and freight routes to reduce pollution, using recycled and organic-based materials wherever possible, and utilizing liquidators for the resale of old furniture fixtures and equipment rather than filling up our landfills.
I have an amazing staff well-versed in customer service, sales, multitasking, freight and logistics, vendor negotiations, value engineering, accounting - and most importantly, they understand the value of family and having fun. As stressful as work and life may get, we always make a point of prioritizing family. I believe that as long as we are all doing our job and our clients are happy, then our company goal has been achieved. If our life at home is also taken care of and our families are happy, then our life goal is being achieved. Maybe that’s why we consider customer service our top priority and our clients are treated like our family too.
Possibly, my family’s breakfast-table banter was one of the best educations I could have received. It certainly made me realize the importance of hard work and the value of family.
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