Blood Donation: As Easy As Walking Outside The Office

OK, so the title of this blog is a little misleading. Giving blood isn’t easy… but the cool part is that almost anyone can do it–and possibly save a life. Now THAT’S pretty awesome to think about.

Steinhafels wants to say thanks to all of our employees who took the time to donate blood today. We know that it’s no small task, and we truly appreciate it.

The statistics are staggering. Every 3 seconds someone needs blood. EVERY 3 SECONDS!!

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The BloodCenter of Wisconsin is dedicated to gathering life-saving blood daily… both at the center’s offices on Wisconsin Ave, and through community events like the annual blood drive at the Steinhafels Corporate store.

As we mentioned before, MOST people can give blood. Some of the reasons you may not be able to donate are Medication, Travel, Pregnancy, and Tattoos–but even those have exceptions! Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

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We spoke to a couple employees about why they decided to give blood. Accent Furniture Buyer Jenny Kordus is a long-time donor, and always takes part in the Steinhafels Blood Drive. She explains, “It’s easy to do and hopefully someone benefits from it. There’s no reason not to when it’s right in the parking lot!”

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Merchandise Planner Amy Bullermann is a little newer to the blood-giving game. She makes a very good point. “You just think at one point you might need blood or someone in your family, so it feels good to help someone else.”

We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and thanks again for making Steinhafels such a great place to work. It truly is the people who make it great.

Check out Jimmy, one of our featured blood donors from last year… back at it!

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DS Tip Of The Week: Sticking to the Basic Elements of Design

Are you looking to make some major updates on your home? Do you want a neutral color pallet with pops of color, but don’t know where to start?

This week’s Decorating Solution’s Tip Of The Week is a little different than most.  Instead of just one simple tip, our designer is sharing some of her step by step, insider knowledge from a recent project!

Ida Grossman is an interior decorator at our Greenfield store. For this project she was tasked with helping a couple revamp a childhood farmhouse. Ida says she wanted to create beauty & function by applying these basic elements of design:

Contrast—Adds interest to any room design. In this room, a sharp contrast is seen between the dark brown of the sectional fabric & the wood finish on the tables and the ivory found in the carpet, tufted ottomans, and fur accent pillows.

Proportion—A room that is out of proportion feels wrong to the human eye.  The large elements in this room are proportioned correctly, making it feel right.  

Color— Repetition in a room creates movement as the eye follows the path of the repetition through the space.  Notice how turquoise, the pop color in this pallet, is positioned throughout the room.

Balance—Achieving balance in a room is key. In this design balance is achieved through the varied use of colors and textures.

Ida Before pic

 

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Even if these concepts don’t directly apply to your project, hopefully this post gives you some insight into what will work best for you.  If you need any help, feel free to call your local Steinhafels or stop in–one of our designers would love to help you out!

You can read more about Ida’s project in this recent Onmilwaukee.com ARTICLE.

Take some of the guesswork out of interior design!  We post a quick and easy decor tip every Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

Cool Community Stuff We’ve Been Up To At Steinhafels!

Memorial Day, and these days after, are about much more than big sales and the unofficial kickoff to summer. As we take some time to reflect on our fallen heroes, and enjoy quality time with family and friends… we want to share a post about a couple unique community opportunities we’ve had the chance to take part in recently. One involves the fight to end teen bullying… the other involves an Illinois boy with a special wish.

ARCh Youth Team Presentation

We love to host local organizations in our Community Room when we can. On Saturday, May 20, we were proud to have the ARCh Youth Team present its program “A Celebration of Differences” right here at Steinhafels.

ARCh (The Association for the Rights of Citizens with handicaps) promotes the health, safety, and achievement of children and adults with disabilities. The Youth Team goes to schools and gives presentations that will hopefully one day help end bullying.

Here are some pictures from “A Celebration of Differences,” a teen-created collection of skits and personal stories.

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ARCh Youth Team group singing “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars during the presentation.

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ARCh Youth Team surrounding Brad Weller, a Senior Graduate of Mukwonago High School. They are recognizing Brad’s amazing achievement–reaching over 12,000 people through performances! They are also celebrating the 30th-anniversary of the Youth Team. 
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ARCh Youth Team performing an “Olympics” Skit, which shows the reality of how prevalent bullying is in middle schools. 
Make a Wish Recipient
Steinhafels is committed to taking part in all of the communities that support our stores–including our good friends to the south in Vernon Hills!
A “wish granter” with Make A Wish in the northern Illinois area recently reached out to see if we could help fulfill a boy named Jacob’s dream–to have an awesome gaming area in his home!
A local business supplied the computer and gaming materials, but they needed a place to put all that equipment.
Steinhafels donated this desk, and as you can see, Jacob’s parents might have a hard time dragging him away from his new home arcade!
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 A performance space and a desk… nothing too elaborate… but both of these projects meant a lot to some local kids.
Steinhafels is honored to have played a small role in both of these events, and we look forward to a summer filled with even more smiles from children across the community!

Journal Sentinel and Steinhafels Project a Great Success For Our Vets

Steinhafels, along with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been a proud partner of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight for years. It’s so exciting to see this organization flourish through the years, and expand to include Korean War vets… and soon, Vietnam vets.

We wanted to share an update on what’s been going on with the Honor Flight. Have you ever wished you could personally tell a veteran “Thank You?”

That’s why the Journal Sentinel recently featured the Mail Call project, presented by Steinhafels!

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People across Wisconsin wrote letters to veterans, and sent them to the Journal Sentinel. The letters will be presented to vets on future Honor Flights. In addition, for each letter received, the Journal made a $10 donation to the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Mail Call ran from November to April, and yielded 4,835 letters to veterans–raising $35,000 for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Steinhafels was honored to host the check presentation this week.

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Here are some pictures from the first batch of Mail Call letters, which were distributed on the most recent flight, Saturday, April 8.

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The letters received through Mail Call were presented in addition to letters that Honor Flight volunteers secretly collected from family and friends of the veterans several weeks before the flight.

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On the flight home from Washington DC, each veteran’s name is called out on the loudspeaker, and the packages are handed out. Many veterans get very teary as they read the letters.

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Korean War veterans also received a letter from a Korean citizen who lives in Seoul, South Korea… thanking the vets for saving their country. How cool is that!?!

The funds raised through Mail Call will go toward future Honor Flights. It’s important to add that the Honor Flight is an all-volunteer organization that dedicates $.98 of every dollar donated directly to its mission.

The next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is Sunday, May 21.  There will be following flights on Friday June 9, Saturday September 16, Saturday October 14, and Saturday November 4.

If you are interested, they we are now accepting applications from Vietnam veterans, and they expect to fly large numbers of them this fall. Priority will still go to terminally ill veterans (from any conflict), then WWII and Korean War veterans because they’re the oldest.  After that, they will fly as many Vietnam veterans as possible!

You can apply HERE.

Also, check out this 5 Words on Freedom movie premiere footage, if you haven’t yet! Steinhafels was proud to host this event a couple years ago. We look forward to continuing this partnership with our heroes for many years to come.

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Life Without a Mattress… Steinhafels Teams Up With Meriter

It all started with a phone call… and has translated into a better night’s sleep for some of Madison’s poorest residents.

Steinhafels is proud to be a part of many community organizations across southeast and central Wisconsin, in addition to the Fox Valley. We especially love it when a cause we’re supporting also relates to our slogan: Relax. In this case, we look at some Madison residents who haven’t had a relaxing night’s sleep in years.

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Lisa Bell, Community Relations Manager at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, reached out to our Steinhafels West Superstore Zone Manager Joe Heins, who specializes in Mattresses. Meriter was looking to donate some mattresses to low income residents–some of whom are veterans. They asked us for a price quote… and we were able to offer them a very deep discount on mattresses and frames. 

Delivery Day was this Tuesday, May 9. The Steinhafels crew was ready to make some beds!

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Bell explains, “I am so pleased that Steinhafels has stepped in to help us make this project a reality. We are committed over the next couple of years to continuing to provide beds to the residents of the Triangle Neighborhood. This neighborhood houses some of our most vulnerable, medically and emotionally, fragile adults.”

The Triangle is a neighborhood of condos and apartments managed by the city, and houses some of Madison’s poorest, highest-risk residents (average yearly income is approximately $10,000).

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Heins says he likes to put an emphasis on helping local charities, and that it was bittersweet watching the residents receive their mattresses on Tuesday. “It was an amazing opportunity, but also heartbreaking. Listening to their personal stories, the challenges these people have faced and what they were sleeping on before, almost brought us to tears. It makes you take a look at the little things, that some of us often take for granted, and how it can be life changing.”  

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One of the recipients was an older woman, who was just released from the hospital a few weeks earlier after surgery.

THIS is what she was sleeping on before the delivery–a makeshift bed of pillows on the cold, hard floor:

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As you can imagine, Heins says she was so happy, almost in tears, when the Steinhafels delivery crew arrived with this bed, donated by Meriter!

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She’s not alone. Several of the resident were literally SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR. Heins admits that something like this truly brings to light just how important a good night’s sleep is.

“A good night’s sleep is so important for your health and quality of life. Things that we take for granted nightly are things they don’t have the luxury of. It’s a decision between food or rent, so buying a mattress isn’t even an option.”

We are so proud of our employees like Joe, who go the extra mile to help others… and we’re glad he appreciates us as well. Joe says, “I always love being able to talk about how great the company I work for is. Seeing the good that Steinhafels does for the community is why I am always trying to recruit my friends and family.”

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It’s just a small step to combat the nationwide issue of poverty and poor living conditions, but even if it brings just a tiny bit of awareness that we all may have a neighbor in need… that’s something.

You can learn more about this project, on various local media!

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL FRONT PAGE ARTICLE

CHANNEL 27 TV NEWS STORY

AWESOME Behind the Scenes VIDEO!

Also, check out a full photo gallery HERE!

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To Market, To Market… Hot New Trends

As someone who is still relatively new to the retail furniture world, I can truly say that some aspects of the business still really fascinate me.

One of those aspects is how the heck we decide WHAT to put in our stores! I mean our superstores are huge, and we carry some of the top furniture lines in the business, but at the end of the day, there is still a ton of furniture out there that we don’t carry.

What I’ve learned is that it’s a VERY precise business. Our buyers do a ton of research to determine the best fits for our store.

All of that research culminates in Market, which is held several times a year–in North Carolina and Las Vegas.

For this blog, we’re going to take a look at the most recent Market–the Spring High Point Market in beautiful NC. According to the Market’s website, more than 75,000 people flock to this small Carolina town every six months to take part in one of the furniture industry’s biggest trade shows. The “Market” is made up of 180 buildings, 11.5 million square feet of showspace, and 2,000+ exhibitors from more than 100 different countries.

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Upon their return from the Tar Heel State, I asked our buyers to give me a little sneak peek into what’s hot this season, and what it’s like to be at Market.

Elaine Haskey, Upholstery

“In the world of Upholstery we were really excited to see Boho, or ‘nuevo hippie.’ It’s very colorful, almost Middle Eastern looking…like items you would find in a bazaar. The pieces are made from very thick fabrics full of color.”

-Modern looks that span all price ranges, both in fabric and in leather. That modern look is also coming into motion furniture.

-Power lumbar continues to be big in motion. Power recline, power headrest, and power lumbar allow the lower back to be supported.

-BOLD colors: Like chartreuse, yellow, and burgundy

-BLUE is still really big, which confirms what we’ve been doing as a company

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Dawn Still, Case Goods

“Being in Case Goods, what we’re looking at is new wood finishes, distressing of the wood, and the wire brush look. It literally looks like someone beat up the piece of wood. Grays are hot. Also a dry finish, and tons of wood species: Acacia, walnut, bleached white oak, and mango to name a few. We are also seeing more multi-functional pieces.”

Jenny Kordus, Accent Furniture

“Accent Furniture vendors are really focusing on multi-purpose pieces–like bookcase piers, cabinets that could be storage or wine racks, tables that can also be used for the office, and that’s just to name a few. Farmhouse is still a big trend, as well as whites and off-white. And barn doors are everywhere!”

Teri Hayden-Kalis, Rugs and Accessories

The trends I saw repeated the most in the showrooms:

-BLUE: All shades of blue accessories and rugs everywhere–Navy, Turquoise, Peacock   

-GOLD/ANTIQUE BRASS: Gold and brass are back, as you may have been noticing on all of your clothing lately (zippers, buttons, etc)… and showrooms are also filled with brass accents and accessories.

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-MONGOLIAN FUR PILLOWS: These are everywhere! They come in every color, go with anything, and add tons of texture.

This is some great insight into the hottest furniture trends for this spring and summer. But I also wanted to know a little bit more about the market itself. What is it REALLY like to attend, and what are some tips for those who may be checking out Market for the first time?

The biggest reaction from our buyers: Wear comfy shoes!! Buyers typically log about 6 miles a day, walking from appointment to appointment.

This spring, our buyers also had to compete with rain basically the entire time. When you compile that with 12-15 hour days, it takes some of the glamour out of the experience!

High Point Market Spring 2017 pic with courtesy

But all of our buyers agree Market is a great event for our industry, and a vital part of networking and developing relationships with vendors.

Jenny says it’s also a chance for the buyers to grow closer. “We don’t always get to hang out at work, so it’s nice to be together, have ‘family’ dinner.”

Teri adds, “My favorite thing about market is seeing all of the new products and designs displayed in gorgeous showrooms. Most showrooms are reset and redesigned for every market.”

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And believe it or not, Market is just the START of all the work for our Merchandising Team! Dawn explains, “You come back and you have to execute. The market is the easy part.. then you have to follow through with the vendors.”

As I’ve learned through my first couple years of working at Steinhafels, the world of furniture is beautiful to gaze at and enjoy, but there is sooooo much work that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen.

I will continue to share some of my discoveries in this blog… so stay tuned!

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Steinhafels & Best Buddies!

The Brewers may have crushed the Reds 9-1 Tuesday night… but the real win was OFF the field at Miller Park!

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Best Buddies Wisconsin hosted its annual Brewers Tailgate, and a couple Steinhafels employees had the chance to hang out with the Best Buddies gang. Steinhafels recently partnered with the organization to sponsor six different schools in the Milwaukee area. You can read about this exciting new friendship on our Community Giving page, and on the Best Buddies Blog.

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The Brewers donated 950 tickets for Best Buddies to give its students, and other participants. They were kind enough to offer some of the tickets to Steinhafels. We had a great time getting to meet some new people. It also didn’t hurt that the Brewers’ bats were on fire, and that Eric Thames hit his 11th homer of the season–setting a franchise record for most home runs in April.

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Bullpen coach and Racine native Marcus Hanel and Brewers pitcher Corey Knebel even dropped by the tailgate to say hi, and snag a couple hot dogs!

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We wanted to hear a little more about what the experience was like for both Steinhafels Bluemound Mattress Manager Chris Trollinger, and Best Buddies Deputy Director of Mission Advancement Lauren Peter. It’s interesting to see both perspectives.

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Chris’s Thoughts

Did you guys have fun at the tailgate and game?

We had a great time at the event. The hot dogs were great, and it was a nice opportunity to mingle with other Steinhafels folks as well as different members of the community.

You said you didn’t know about Best Buddies before this. What do you think about the organization, from what you know now?

I do believe it is so nice to do any type of mentoring. I believe this special group really benefits from just a little extra interaction.

Are you happy that Steinhafels sponsors and takes part in a variety of community organizations?

Yes, I believe that’s an important part of the family values that Steinhafels demonstrates.

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Lauren’s Turn

Why is the annual tailgate such an important event for Best Buddies?

Answer is two-fold: First, it is a great opportunity for the community to see our mission in action through volunteering and raising awareness with the surrounding tailgaters; secondly, this is a really incredible way to thank our students for a great year, as well as engage them with like-minded peers from other schools in the area and socialize with buddies.

Our Steinhafels employees really enjoyed it. Why is it so cool to get your community sponsors to events to get the true “Best Buddies” experience?

Reading about our programs doesn’t do justice to the impact the programs truly have on participants, volunteers, etc.  The reason our programs are so successful is because of the friendship aspect, which is a human connection, something very authentic that you have to experience first-hand and in-person to really get an understanding of how beneficial the programs are.

What would you like to say to Steinhafels employees who are thinking about coming out to the next Best Buddies event?

We would love to have you! There’s so many opportunities to engage with our organization whether that’s through volunteering at our events or participating with us. Give us a shot – you never know, you could make a new friend!

You can see all of our pictures, and some video from the tailgate HERE.

Steinhafels and a play about a bed!

Steinhafels is excited to sponsor a unique theatrical experience playing at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View over the next few weekends.

The show is called Strange Bedfellows–an evening of short film + theater. It includes 8 international short films, and the world premiere of the short play, The Bed. The play is an introspective look at a man’s existence from birth to death, and the significance his bed plays throughout his life.MAIN POSTER 11x 17 poster.jpg with RISHI TEA LOGO.jpg SAME ROW

When the show’s director and playwright, Jeff Ircink, approached us to be a possible sponsor, it surprisingly turned out to be a perfect fit!

At Steinhafels, we pride ourselves on selling high quality beds and mattresses that promote a good night’s sleep. Check out our past blog about the importance of sleep HERE.

As part of the sponsorship, Steinhafels donated and delivered this bed, which will sit in the center of the stage. Talk about a starring role!! Delivery Operations Manager Kevin Riley says it was a unique and fun delivery.

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We asked Jeff to tell us a little bit more about the play, and why he’s so inspired by beds and sleep.

STEINHAFELS:  Briefly tell us about The Bed, and why people should come out to see it?

JEFF:  I wrote this short play as an homage to my father, who loved to sleep. His entire life he loved to sleep. Sleeping is a universal condition. Everybody sleeps. The storyline is really the story of each of our lives. And – there are very few plays with no actor dialogue. We have a pre-recorded voiceover narration with a music bed and the actors play out the narration on stage. It’s quite lovely, I must say.

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They should also come because we’re giving away the bed from The Bed at the end of the run, as well as four other grand prizes. And we’re giving away stuff throughout the run. I mean when was the last time you left the theater with one of the set pieces?

STEINHAFELS:  Why did you approach Steinhafels? Why is this a community-based partnership that makes sense?

JEFF:  When I moved back to Wisconsin, I immediately went to Steinhafels and purchased a sleigh bed. I’ve been in a state of bliss ever since–I am not kidding! I know people who work and have worked for Steinhafels and the name is synonymous with quality furniture. It was the first place I thought of, and the first place I approached with our show concept. I think local business ties to the arts help enhance the retailer’s community spirit. It’s not just “come buy furniture from us,” but it’s “our customers also like to be educated, inspired and entertained and here’s how we can support that.”

STEINHAFELS:  You came out to the store to pick a bed for the play.  What did you think… and what do you think of the bed you chose?

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JEFF:  Huge selection! We were there for an hour, maybe? But we did find one bed that works with our set, is functional, and is a style that any patron would love to have in their home.

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STEINHAFELS:  A bed is something we often take for granted. Why is a bed and sleep so important?

JEFF:  My sleeping accommodations (as far as my bed) were horrendous while living in Los Angeles for 12 years. I promised myself that when I moved back to Wisconsin, if there wasn’t a stitch of furniture in my home, I’d splurge and treat myself to a quality bed – mattress, box spring, head & footboard. Which I did, thanks to Steinhafels. I wanted to write a play that paid tribute to a piece of furniture that is taken for granted in film, television, and theater. It’s set dressing – that’s all. I thought it needed its Cecile B. DeMille moment.

STEINHAFELS:  How do you want audience members to feel when you leave the show?

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JEFF:  Two questions are addressed in The Bed:  “What have I accomplished in my life?” and “What do I want to accomplish before I leave this earth?” Everyone asks themselves these two questions at some point in their lives. The play and eight films will strike a nerve with everyone. They’ll laugh and reminisce, and perhaps view their bed and sleeping in a different light. They may even become a bit introspective when it comes to their own lives.

Strange Bedfellows runs April 21-22, 28-29, May 5-6, 12-13 at the Alchemist. Two shows each night at 7 and 9:00 p.m. We hope to see you at the theater for this introspective and touching show!

The Power of Employment: Justin’s Story

We often take our jobs for granted. We like our coworkers, we like what we do… but for many people, a job’s a job.

However, when you really think about it, our jobs are a big part of who we are. They consume about half of our waking life! It’s where we accomplish personal goals, make mistakes, learn how to communicate with others, make a living, and hopefully feel a sense of self worth.

Today, we want to spotlight one of our newer employees, who truly shows the empowerment of employment.  

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Justin’s story begins with Project SEARCH, an Employment & Training Program through Easterseals. Project SEARCH is a transition program that trains adults with disabilities for employment. It’s similar to an internship, and takes place entirely onsite at a host business from September through early June. Justin completed his Project SEARCH tenure at Waukesha Memorial Hospital–one of several local hospitals involved in the program. In addition to on the job training, participants also learn interpersonal skills, resume writing, and understanding company policies.  

Lori Stankiewicz is a Workforce Development Specialist with Easterseals Southeast Wisconsin. She explains, “The whole concept of Project SEARCH is to walk away with on the job training skills that can be applied to other jobs.”

Justin did very well during his time with Project SEARCH. Once that was completed, a job developer came on board, and Justin did a temporary work experience at our Steinhafels Dreams Mattress Factory in New Berlin. This temporary experience gives people like Justin the opportunity to work on the job, and can potentially lead to a hire.

The Dreams factory was not the best fit for Justin, but that’s OK. Our Human Resources Department saw Justin’s potential, and thought maybe the Distribution Center at our Corporate Store in Waukesha would be a better fit. Well…Justin took off running and never looked back! With the support of his job coaches, and the ‘natural supports’ of his coworkers and supervisors, Justin quickly learned the tasks in the recycling area.

Justin’s job is very important to warehouse productivity. He takes the trash bins from the  furniture assembly area, puts the contents in the trash compactor, and then returns the bins to their original spots so assemblers can continue working and not lose time emptying trash.

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Justin also works on balers for cardboard and plastic. These are very important to Steinhafels’ recycling efforts. Lori says she is proud Justin can be a part of this process.  “I think Steinhafels has done a really great job of recycling material. The team members throughout the warehouse are doing it, and that’s great.”

Lori explains that Justin has also learned how to ‘wire’ the cardboard bale, which basically secures the cardboard as it moves through the baler. In the end, a bale of cardboard weighs at least 1200 pounds! The bales are eventually loaded on a semi and shipped off to be recycled.

Justin is the picture of focus while at work. Lori gives a laugh and says, ”Justin just really loves to work. He doesn’t like to chit chat.. he’d rather just work.”

But it’s more than physical labor and collecting a paycheck. Justin’s mom Theresa explains,  “He now has a better attitude in general, and I think he has more self worth. I believe that Justin has worked hard to get where he is today, and is a true success story for a little boy that was diagnosed moderate to severe autism 22 years ago.”

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Justin learned the job so quickly that job coaches were able to step back early, and he now works independently. His first day on the job as an official employee was January 6. Talk about a great way to kickoff 2017!

We asked Lori how it makes her feel to see a success story like Justin. She says, “I gotta say the first time I saw him in his uniform was awesome, and I’ve also seen his level of confidence grow.  It’s just great. It just shows that everyone has the possibility of working in the community, and having a meaningful working experience.” She adds, “The biggest thing is you’re seeing people and their abilities…that’s really what we’re striving for.”

Justin is a man of few words (his favorite word is “Alright”), but there’s no denying he loves his job. Lori says, “He shows it by the big smile he has while working, especially while all the cardboard is being crushed!”

You can learn more about Project SEARCH by clicking HERE!

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DS Tip Of The Week: Bringing the Barn Indoors

It’s technically spring, but many of us are probably still suffering from a case of the winter doldrums. One way to catch the spring fever is to bring some of the life and vibrance of the outdoors, in!

It’s time for your Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week to give you some inspiration. This week’s tip is from Menomonee Falls Interior Decorator Beth Kealy.

Beth has some advice for adding some outdoor, rustic flair to your space. She exclaims, “What’s currently on trend?  Barn doors, they are showing up everywhere!”

You can hide your TV behind them

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Use them for office or spare bedroom doors

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They make great entertainment consoles

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Many accent pieces also feature barn doors 

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Beth adds, “These ideas can really ‘fun up’ any space!”

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Our designers are always on the lookout for the latest trends. Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.