Employee Profile: Sleep Expert And American Idol Hopeful!

Talk about talented! We know our Steinhafels employees are pretty awesome, but check out our newest Employee Profile: Julica Kelly.

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Julica is a Sales Associate at our Madison West Store. We are so excited that she is embarking on an American Idol journey… and it’s not her first time! Julica took the time to tell us a little bit more about her journey as a singer/songwriter, and how her musical background has also helped her in her role at Steinhafels

How long have you worked for Steinhafels, and what do you do? What do you like most about it?

I’ve worked for Steinhafels going on 5 months now, and I’m a Sleep/Bedroom Specialist. (The best title ever haha!) This is one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had apart from taking care of people with disabilities. Most people don’t understand how important the correct pillow and mattress is for a great night’s sleep. We sometimes have customers come in with MS or Severe Osteoporosis. We are able to literally change their lives with a TempurPedic and adjustable base. That’s my favorite part of my job–helping people!

How long have you been singing? What do you love about it?

I was singing before I was talking!! In first grade, I used to ask my teacher if I could sing a song for the class everyday at the podium. A little embarrassing when I look back on it, but it’s also made me realize that being an entertainer is truly always something I’ve wanted to do. There aren’t enough words to explain my love for music and singing.  If I could explain it at all, I love the feeling/healing music brings. It’s the best form of release and expression of emotion for me.

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What first got you into music?

My passion for music started at a very young age and has always came very naturally to me.  Michael Jackson was my first musical inspiration aside from my parents/grandparents. I used to put in a Michael Jackson VHS my father taped for me every morning as my brothers left for school. I remember the first time I watched “Man In The Mirror” by MJ I cried and cried. I was only 4 years old.  

What’s your favorite kind of music to perform?

I would consider myself a very open and diverse musician.  I love all genres and styles of music, but the music I write is more funk/blues/soul and some alternative.

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How can people hear you… do you play in any local bands, at local bars, etc?

You can go to YouTube or Facebook and search “Julica Rose Kelly Videos.” There you can find a lot of my performances new and old. I currently play in two different classic rock bands. One is called “River Rockers” and the other is “Hammer Down.” I sing anything from Gunpowder and Lead to ACDC in these current bands and we have so much fun jammin together! I also play solo gigs as well. I’m originally a musician out of LaCrosse, WI. I have performed at local bars such as Popcorn Tavern, Dells Bar, and many more in the LaCrosse area. Currently I’ve been performing at local bars in the Dodgeville/Blanchardville area such as Jeffery’s House of Foolishness and Rachel N’ Rays. I’m looking to expand and start performing at more local venues in the Madison area.

What is the hardest thing about being a musician?

Being a singer/musician can be a rough road. Some of the most talented musicians go their whole life without being discovered in the music industry.  I think the hardest part is having drive and keeping faith. When you work hard year after year perfecting your skill and chasing your dreams with nothing to show for it, it can become discouraging. I’ve realized over the years that no matter what, I’ve accomplished a lot as a musician and I will never give up doing what I love most regardless of any fortune or fame.

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How has being a singer and performing helped you be a better worker and salesperson?

People and communication skills are super important as a singer/musician. I think being a singer has helped me to accommodate to different types and styles of people. Then you are able to kind of mold to their personalities–for a better customer experience.

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I know you can’t tell us too much about the American Idol journey so far.. but what has it been like? What’s been the coolest and most nerve-wracking parts? (And what’s the next step?)

This experience so far with Idol has been exciting, emotional, rewarding and so much more. I made it to Hollywood (Top 70) when I was 19, and many of those feeling rush back that I had then.

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A lot has changed since I was 19. I’m a mother now, and I have a whole new outlook on life.  I’ve also had more time to work on my skills. I’m feeling more confident, and I’m ready to give this all I’ve got. As far as the next steps, I can’t say too much but there is a link to my Story on WKOW with more info on the next steps.

Thanks so much Julica for taking us along on your journey, and all the best to you as it continues!

Julica also has a GoFundMe Page to raise money for travel, hotel, and expenses to get to the next round.  

DS Tip Of The Week: Applying Outdoor Patterns, Indoors

Patterns can be tricky, whether you’re picking an outfit for the day, or designing your home. You want to use them, but you also don’t want to risk clashing.

Don’t be afraid of patterns!! If you’re unsure about layering patterns in a room, just take a look outside. Whether you live in the country, on a lake, or in an urban environment, you are exposed to many different textures, patterns, and colors just out your back door.

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That brings us to this week’s Steinhafels #DecoratingSolutions Tip of the Week.  It comes from one of our newer decorators, Tina Dopf, who’s based at our Madison Beltline store.

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Tina explains, “When you apply pleasing textures, patterns, and colors inside, it has that same effect on your senses. One thing to note is pattern scale. Having colors in different scale patterns and textures is key. You can not successfully pull it all off in one size of various patterns. As in nature, mix up the scale size… large to small, add a texture, and have a base color that helps to repeat the overall theme.”

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Don’t be ashamed to ask for help with your redesign!  We post a quick and easy decor tip each Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

And if you’d like to work with Tina, you can email her at tinad@steinhafels.com, or ask for her at our Madison Beltline Superstore!

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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Design for a Difference 2016: The Rainbow Project

Steinhafels has been taking part in Design For a Difference-Madison for a couple years now. Steinhafels is often thought of as a Milwaukee company, but we are proud to serve the Madison, Appleton, and Vernon Hills communities as well.

Design For a Difference is a national campaign focused on design makeovers for charities.  Thanks to organizers like FLOOR360 and BRAVA Magazine, Madison has been a staple city for the project for the past two years.  This year, the charity chosen was The Rainbow Project, which helps children and families in crisis.  Our designers oversaw a complete redesign of the center’s “Observation Room.”

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Steinhafels Decorating Solutions designers Mari Johnson and Patti Stindt were asked if they would like to donate their time, and take part in the project this year.  They hit the ground running!!  Designer Michelle Kahl, who is a newer addition to our design team, also helped out.  And of course, Steinhafels was so proud to donate a large portion of the facility’s new furniture.

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Sharyl Kato is a Child and Family Therapist, and Director of The Rainbow Project. Kato and her staff worked tirelessly to make sure this redesign was a success.

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We talked to Mari, Patti, and Sharyl about the overall experience.  Check out their reflections below!

MARI JOHNSON, Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Interior Designer

-What has been the best part about being involved in the DFAD redesign this year?

MARI:  The best thing about being part of the DFAD this year was working with a very talented group of designers.  We may be “competition,” but we came together and the result is unbelievable. Also, it took me completely by surprise that just by asking people in the community for help how many of them stepped up. In particular Tom Colby from the Elks, who connected me with The Carlson Company and the electrician, Jon Potter.  Target Corporation gave me a $100 gift card to buy a kid’s table and storage bins, and Cindy from Cindy’s Custom Interiors donated fabric and labor. In addition, when I went to purchase rope lighting at Menards, Becky Zahn, a Zone manager gave me her Menards card to make the purchase.  Just wow! Not to mention all the donations of toys which was the idea of our sales associate, Laurie Krueger.

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-Has this experience helped you use your design skills in a new way?

MARI:  This opportunity helped me use my design skills to make a different space than someone’s home, beautiful!  It’s very unfortunate that there is a need for a place like The Rainbow Project, but they do such a important job in our community. So if we can make it somewhat easier for the therapists to perform their jobs, how great is that.

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-Why is it important that businesses and employees give back to the communities they serve?

MARI:  It is important for everyone to give back to the community.  We all live here.

PATTI STINDT, Steinhafels Decorating Solutions Interior Designer

-What has been the best part about being involved in the DFAD redesign this year?

PATTI:  The best part Is to help provide a healthy and positive environment to encourage the feeling of safety, support, and healing for those that have been traumatized.

-Has this experience helped you use your design skills in a new way?

PATTI: It has been a great pleasure to partner with other designers that have different specialties to provide a cohesive space.

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-Why is it important that businesses and employees give back to the communities they serve?

PATTI:  We all should feel a sense of ownership to help those in our community that need it most.

Sharyl Kato, Director, The Rainbow Project

-How did you first feel when you found out Rainbow Project was chosen for this year’s Design for a Difference?

SHARYL:  I was shocked and elated and jumping up & down & hugging everyone & screaming!!  I was so elated because you have no idea how much our clinic needed repair.

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-Describe what The Rainbow Project does, and why it’s so vital to the Madison community.

SHARYL:  We offer a wide range of prevention, early intervention, treatment, & crisis services, specializing in trauma recovery for young children (infants through 10 years of age) and their families.  We work with families who have experienced child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, community violence, victims of crime such as break-ins, severe accidents, fires, natural disasters, grief/separation & loss, drug endangered children, child sex trafficking & victims of pornography as well as medical trauma.  We provide best-practice, evidence based approaches working with children, caregivers, families & other agencies, service providers including schools, early childhood programs, hospitals/physicians, homeless shelters, substance abuse programs, first offenders, substance abuse programs & other sources.  We have been providing effective,  innovative, state-of-the-art services for 36 years & were ahead of our time, doing work that research is finally validating as valid science.  We are proud of our service model involving play therapy, family therapy, parent education, in home work, children’s & parent groups, community networking  & collaboration as well as community education & consultation services.  We have served over 10,800 children and 10,500 adult caregivers.  We focus on younger children because they are at highest risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder increasing their risks for criminal behavior, poor academic performance, substance abuse, mental illness, violent behavior, unemployment & homelessness.  Trauma can negatively impact brain development & neuroscience, yet research indicates that specialized positive consistent interactions such that Rainbow staff provide & promote in the community, can reverse that damage.  And we observe these successes every day.

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What has the process been like watching the building be transformed over the last few months?

SHARYL:  The process has been so very amazing.  The Design 4 A Difference volunteer team embraced Rainbow so totally.  The focus, attention, & appreciation for our work, our environment, what we do, the caring for our mission and the population we are devoted to serving–was so deeply moving and appreciated.  We involved the children and families we serve early on to provide input on what they already liked about our space & what they would like to see added or changed so that they were a part of the planning process too.  The process and anticipation was building with every day!  The well-planned, thoughtful meetings & the caring and concern to get our input was so consistent throughout.  Over time, the initial exhilaration & excitement has transformed and actually deepened as we “live and work” in our new space!  We see clients both children and adults be so in awe of the space.  Squeals of laughter & delight, so many ‘Wows’ and ‘Ohhhs’ and ‘Ahhhs’  as they tour the new space & discover the changes.  A child who normally does not express himself kept repeating & exclaiming with amazement….’this is shocking, this is shocking!’  And another child jumped into the huge pillows exclaiming he wanted to stay in the room forever.  The children & families are careful & respectful of the awesome toys & furniture.  They are aware that this was done for them & they are grateful.  As victims of trauma, our clients may view the world as mostly not safe & caring so when folks do something so incredible voluntarily, it alters their view of the world and of themselves as valued.  Nothing can substitute that in their healing process.

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Describe the feeling you had when you first saw the project all finished?

SHARYL:  Shock, Excitement, Overwhelmed, but mostly Grateful. It is the intensity and magnitude of those feelings that were most meaningful.

Steinhafels was so honored to be a part of this project.  Can you tell us a little bit about the room our designers remodeled, and what you love about it most?  

SHARYL:  The room Steinhafels remodeled is one of the most important because after the waiting area,  it is the first room they come in for their initial consultation.  We are aware of how stressful it is to come to ask for help.  To make something private very public.  It takes courage to seek help when they are in such pain and stress from trauma.  So we want to be sure we are as sensitive as possible to that apprehension.  The lighting, the playhouse, the warmth and welcoming feeling is so perfect!  The interior designers truly understood.  We appreciate every item, object & thought that went behind everything.  It was so very touching and healing for all of us.  The gifts that will continue giving include the beautiful & irresistible toys that were given to the children here.

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Finally, how is this project going to help you serve families even better?

SHARYL:  For one thing, the magnitude of this magical transformation that was given to the Rainbow Project makes us more determined than ever to continue our work to make you all proud of your investment in time, energy, resources, labor, & heart.  The impact on staff is multi-fold.  When surrounded by creative stimulating environments, it makes us all more energetic, motivated, creative & definitely more positive, efficient, organized!!  The attention to self-care products in the break room & OUR ROOMS!!!!  The results way surpassed our expectations.  We do not feel alone in the tough work we do.  We are not used to the attention & appreciation as we do our work every day!  It was challenging to get used to that.  We feel we can conquer the world!!!  Thank you does not seem adequate enough.  We have all observed progress with our clients.  A child I work with has made more gains this month than in over a year.  The environment is peaceful, welcoming, inviting, nurturing.  It is their place, it is our place.

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2015 Year in Review: A Year of Giving and Growing!

2015 has been a big year for our company.  From continuing long-standing partnerships with local organizations, to making new friends in the community, to breaking ground on a multi-million dollar warehouse expansion… there’s never a dull moment here at Steinhafels.  We’d like to now briefly share a few of our favorite moments with you — as we look back at the year that was, and look forward to the new adventures 2016 has in store.

March 2015:  House of Hope Donation with the Kuhn Family

A home.  It’s something most of us take for granted.  For some people, finding a place to call home is a daily struggle.  The ‘House of Hope’ in Green Bay is hoping to change that.  Steinhafels is still new to the Fox Valley market, and we are excited to partner with The Green Bay Press Gazette, and help House of Hope in its fight against homelessness.  On this particular day we donated various pieces of furniture to help update the House, and make it more of a welcoming environment for those who need it most.  Packers Fullback John Kuhn and his wife Lindsey were also on hand for the event!

WATCH VIDEO FROM THIS SPECIAL DAY

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April 2015:  “Five Words on Freedom” documentary premiere

Steinhafels is proud to partner with the Journal Sentinel and Pick ‘n Save in supporting the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  The Flight honors all vets by flying World War Two, Korean War, and terminally ill vets to D.C. to visit their memorials.  A documentary crew followed the vets and special guest, Brewers star catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on a recent flight.  The documentary premiered at Steinhafels’ Corporate Center in Waukesha.  Here’s a behind the scenes look at the big event!

WATCH VIDEO OF THE PREMIERE!

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May 2015:  “Keeping Tradition Alive in Pewaukee”

Fireworks on Pewaukee Lake have been a tradition for more than 25 years. However, due to the strained economy and funding challenges many communities are facing, the city’s hands were tied and leaders weren’t sure they could fund the annual event.  Steinhafels joined in Pewaukee’s ‘GoFundMe’ project to help save the fireworks.  Steinhafels pledged to match the final donation amount, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000.

Boaters on Pewaukee Lake watch a distant fireworks display to the west while waiting for the annual July 4th fireworks at Pewaukee's Lakefront Park on Thursday, July 4, 2013.

July 2015:  Groundbreaking for New Warehouse

As business continues to grow, Steinhafels is expanding its headquarters to match.  This July we broke ground on a more than 100,000-square-foot expansion at our Pewaukee facility.  An increased demand for quality furniture has led to this need for more space.  We’re constantly looking for more hard-working, dedicated people to join our team!  The expansion will take place in two phases, and ultimately add hundreds of employees to our company’s workforce.

“We’re breaking ground to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced, both with same-store sales with the economy picking up, and with the stores we’ve opened through the purchase from American (TV and Appliance),” president Gary Steinhafel told a local media outlet covering the event.

WATCH VIDEO OF THE GROUNDBREAKING!

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October 2015:  Design for a Difference

We can’t forget our community neighbors to the West!  This was our first year taking part in ‘Design For a Difference’.  Steinhafels was one of many local companies to help with this Extreme Makeover-style redesign at the ‘Center For Families’ in Madison, which helps families in crisis.  Thank you Floor 360 for inviting us to take part in this wonderful event.

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October 2015:  Kathy’s House Donation

We were excited to partner with Kathy’s House in Milwaukee for the first time this Fall.  Kathy’s House provides rooms for families who come from out of town and have a loved one in the hospital.  Thanks to some help from Tempur-Pedic, we were able to supply Kathy’s House with new mattresses and frames… so family members have a comfortable place to sleep during a traumatic time in their lives.

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October and December 2015:  Condella’s Coats for Kids

Steinhafels, Fox 6, and the Salvation Army team up every year for ‘Condella’s Coats for Kids’.  This year we held two coat drives at our Corporate store.  The community’s generosity was overwhelming, as volunteers collected hundreds of coats that will cleaned and distributed to children who need them throughout Milwaukee.  Those who donated also got 2 free tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters on New Years Eve!!

WATCH VIDEO OF FOX 6 NEWS COVERING THE EVENT!

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December 2015:  CBS 58 Toy Shop

Families in Milwaukee continue to struggle during these difficult economic times.  This is especially evident during the Christmas Holiday Season.  The Salvation Army ‘Toy Shop’ provides an opportunity for parents to choose from donated new toys so their children will have presents on Christmas Day, even if the family cannot afford to buy toys.  Barrels to accept toys were set up at all Steinhafels stores in southeast Wisconsin.

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As we look ahead to the next year, we are constantly working to update our retail stores and our online services, to make your shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.  We want to hear from you!  Please, feel free to comment on our blog at any time, or give one of our friendly customer service agents a call.  We wish you and yours a wonderful New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2016!