Employee Profile: Steinhafels Manager By Day, Country Star By Night!

We’re lucky at Steinhafels to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers with cool stories and various interests. When you have more than 800 people working for a company across 18 stores and two states, you’re bound to have some pretty interesting background stories!

While the main purpose of this blog is to share design trends, industry info, and community outreach… we also want to take the time to highlight employees who are making a difference, or have a unique story to tell.

One of those employees is Menomonee Falls-based Sales Manager Joell Powers. I recently learned that Joell lives a “double life” of sorts, and thought it would be cool to chat with her about that, and see how those worlds combine to make her an awesome Sales Manager.

Joell’s Double Life: Sales Manager By Day

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Country Star By Night!

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I always think it’s neat when people have interests outside of work that are vastly different from their work roles. While we spend 8+ hours a day at the office, in the warehouse, or in the store… it’s important to remember that we all have other skills and talents that make us a unique piece of the Steinhafels puzzle.

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Joell has been with Steinhafels for 4 years. She’s a Milwaukee native, and was recently promoted to Sales Manager. When she’s not working, you may see her onstage at a local festival or a local bar venue. She’s a singer for the local band Georgia Overdrive. They’ve already performed a few times at State Fair, and you have ONE MORE CHANCE TO SEE HER LIVE AT THE FAIR on Friday, August 11 at 11 a.m. at the Budweiser Pavilion Stage!!

Joell was kind enough to take a few minutes from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her “double life.”

First off, briefly describe your role at Steinhafels.

As a sales manager, I focus on hiring new sales associates and coaching/training the staff to continue to reach for their goals. Overall, I help in any way possible to make our team stronger and help Steinhafels keep growing!

When did you begin singing/performing? What’s your vocal “specialty?”

The very first time I sang was actually at the State Fair, and I believe I was about 8 years old. It was at the Double K Ranch on karaoke night! I love to sing all types of music, but my main choice is country music. The band that I am currently with is Georgia Overdrive.

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By day you’re a retail manager, and night a country star! How are the two different? Similar?

Singing with a band is completely different from my job. I get to be silly and dance on stage and watch how people react to our performance. I did notice though that there are some similarities between singing and being a retail manager. My job is to make sure that people enjoy their experience, whether it’s listening to their favorite song, or getting delivery of their beautiful new living room set. As a singer, you are only as good as your band members. You must rely on them, and if we aren’t all on the same page, it will be a bad outcome. It’s the same thing with Steinhafels and working with the staff. We set goals and we work together to achieve them. I would be nothing without my band members or my sales associates!

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What do you like most about performing?

When I perform, I feel like I get to show a different side of me. I get to be a little kid again and just be goofy and dance. I remember dancing in my room singing in the mirror with my brush as my microphone. That’s all I’m really doing now, just with a real audience.

Are people surprised to learn you sing in a band?

So many people have come up to me and said, “I had no idea you could sing!” I laugh because it’s not something that I would ever bring up in conversation. I’m not just going to say, “Hey, did you know I can sing?” If I did, someone would probably say, “Sing something right now!” haha.

Is it cool to sing at State Fair?

Singing at the State Fair means the world to me. First off, it was the first place that I can remember ever singing in front of a crowd. Second, I’ve been going to the fair every year since I was little. My grandpa was part of the sheep shearing contests, and is actually in the Hall of Fame for it. You can see his name posted on a board in the sheep barn. (We are proud of that!) We’ve held family reunions there as well. Some might say that we are obsessed, but I just say we are passionate.

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Why should folks come out and see Georgia Overdrive at State Fair, and other local venues?

People need to come out to the State Fair because there is something there for everyone! You get to support local companies and farmers, eat great food, shop in the Expo Center, listen to all types of music, pet animals, go on rides… the options are endless! It’s a great time for all ages, and the best part is you get the enjoy the beautiful Wisconsin weather while doing all of that. Last thing I would say is to come out on Friday morning to see Georgia Overdrive perform at the Budweiser Pavilion. We’d love to see you, and hopefully get you out on the dance floor!

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I don’t know about you, but this post makes me want to get out of my desk chair and start dancing!

So… if you’re off Friday and looking for something to do, go ahead and get down to the Fair to see Joell let loose on stage. If not, you can check out the band’s future performance dates HERE.

Thanks Joell… for being a rockstar not only onstage, but also as a Steinhafels manager!

screenshot_43Joell and fellow Manager Summer Barnes!

 

The Stories Behind Your Furniture

What do you get when you take a former news producer and tell her to write a furniture blog for one of the top furniture retailers in the state?  At first, sensational headlines like, “Dining Room Tables On Strike”, or “Breaking News: Leather Couch Gets A Scuff”, come to mind.  Don’t worry—that won’t be this blog.

OK, yeah, so furniture isn’t always the most exciting topic out there.  I get that. But it is beautiful to look at, fun to buy, and in some cases, it can tell a pretty awesome story.

As a journalist, I am all about telling stories, and as I’ve learned through the years, a story doesn’t always have to be of the “If It Bleeds It Leads” variety.  In fact, the best stories I did during my time in TV News were usually the stories that didn’t dwell on death and destruction.  They were just good, relatable, PEOPLE stories:  The local organization offering job opportunities for the visually impaired; The guy fighting cancer whose goal was to complete his ‘Bucket List’; Or the local woman whose ancestors were on the Titanic.  They were unique, Human Interest stories you couldn’t see anywhere else.

I hope to make this blog fun, relatable, and informative.  I’m still learning about all things furniture, so we can learn together!  In upcoming blogs I will talk  about things like home design trends, decorating on a budget, how to pick the perfect mattress, and other topics we can all relate to.

I also hope to share some of the personal stories of people who work here at Steinhafels.  Being a family-owned, locally operated business since 1934, there are so many cool stories behind these walls.  I hope to share some of them and get feedback from you, our loyal customers.

The one thing I’ve noticed through my first few months at Steinhafels is that furniture is a very emotional purchase, and each piece means SOMETHING to someone.  So for this initial blog entry, I decided to reach out to folks on Facebook, and ask them about the furniture in their homes.  I asked them to tell me about a piece of furniture that tells a story–whether it’s a piece they have now, or had in the past.  I received some very heartfelt, genuine responses, and I’d like to share some of those entries and pictures with you now.

Brooke:  “It may not look like much, but this rocking chair with matching ottoman was my great grandmother’s.  When we had our first child and I told my mom I wanted a rocking chair, she said I should take this one.  She said my great grandma would love to know it’s still used for rocking babies to sleep.”

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Beth:  “I bought a mission-style futon from a warehouse sale Christmas Eve in 2002.  Put the full size futon in my Honda Civic, which surprisingly fit everything. That futon has gotten me through a lot.  Family still sleeps on it and it doesn’t look aged.  Best piece of furniture and $125 well spent!”

Lindsay:  “Oddly enough, my husband and I still talk about a recliner we had in Milwaukee.  We found it in the alley by our apartment and hauled it upstairs.  It was well-worn and definitely “broken-in”, but he never used it as a recliner.  He would perch on the edge and our old dog Jake would snuggle up behind him.  Best chair ever.”

Jackie:  “I love our “settle”.  We just call it a loveseat since most people do not know what a settle is.  I love it because the neighbor where I grew up had one like it, and that is why I bought it.  It always reminds me of her, and I’m certain she would have picked it out if she was shopping too.  She passed away 7 years ago.”

Kristin:  “This was my grandparents’ rocker that they rocked all of their grandchildren in.  The rest of our nursery furniture is white, but I didn’t want to paint over the worn away arms.  I love that my grandparents hands wore away the coloring on the arm rests.”

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Leona:  “I bought our kitchen table when my husband and I were dating in Alabama.  It was unfinished and I stained it a dark mahogany.  I had to totally sand it down and refinish it this summer (partially because my husband used it to anchor a carpentry project), even though it doesn’t fit in our current dining room.  I also redid the chairs that go with it.”

Mike:  “I still remember how at 22 I had to save a whole year to buy my first bed and mattress (my first furniture purchase).  I was living in Chicago and took my savings to Marshall Field’s and found what I wanted.  On delivery day, I took the day off to wait for the delivery.  I made myself a wonderful dinner (with wine…a splurge), took a shower so I’d be all tidy and clean (just like a little kid on bath night), and finally (and proudly) crawled into my new bed, new mattress, and new sheets.  It was a personal triumph.  Years later, parting with the bed and mattress was tough, as I realized I had become attached to the memory of that magical first sleep, and that first true adult purchase.”

Rachel: “This bed belonged to my grandmother–it’s an antique I believe is about 200 years old.  It was the only thing I wanted when she passed.  I have the fondest memories of her in it:  Sleepovers, watching TV, and just the best conversations.  The bed was such a cozy spot, I even used it as my safe place in therapy as a kid.  Canopy is all original.  I can’t wait to have my own family and fond memories, and pass it on to the next generation.”

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Karen:  “My husband has a 100-year-old chair from his great grandma. It is in the basement and needs to be reupholstered.  He loves it because it belonged to his relatives.”

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Marty:  “I still own the dressers and such that were my late wife’s starting as a middle schooler in the mid 70’s.  Can’t part with them.”

Kala:  “My bedroom set has been in my family for years.  My grandfather made dressers for my aunt, then I got them.  The furniture is more than 50 years old. And I have my mother’s vanity.”

As you can see, meaningful furniture runs the gamut–from big ticket items to smaller accent pieces.  Steinhafels wants to help you create your own memories by making each purchase–large and small–truly mean something.

Stay tuned… I plan to blog often about all kinds of topics, and any feedback is appreciated.  Thanks for reading, and maybe, just maybe, this blog will make you look at that old sofa in your living room, or that gaudy lamp your grandma gave you, in a whole new way.