Former music teachers Alissa and Mark Wayman recently took the reins of the family furniture and appliance business in Martinsville, Ind.
By Andy Kriege, YSN
“Well I was Born in a Small Town . . .”
Mark Wayman left Martinsville, Ind., in the 1980s to pursue a career teaching music. He never dreamed that his journey would come full circle and that he would be back running the family business selling furniture and appliances in the town he grew up in.
He is convinced it was all a part of God’s plan to bring him and his wife Alissa back to Martinsville to be closer to his family after the passing of his brother Scott in 2019. The family got into the business when Mark’s and Scott’s parents, Darlene and Gail Wayman, purchased the store in 1984. Scott worked there with his parents and was the driving force behind Wayman’s Furniture & Appliances, and his passing left a huge void that needed filling. For the business to survive, someone to step up and take the reins.
Declared Mark, “God was very clear that we were being called to come back and work in this family business.” Not only did Mark see this as his calling, but also as a great opportunity to return home to his family and the community that he loves.
Like Mark, Alissa was also a music teacher and band director. While Mark taught middle school, Alissa was a high school teacher, most recently working in Florida. After teaching music for 31 years retail provided a whole new challenge. While teaching music and selling furniture and appliances are distinctly different professions in theory, making the pivot to retail sales was not all that difficult for Mark.
“As music teachers we were tasked with recruiting kids and selling the music to the students, parents and community,” Mark explained. “It was essential that we went out and recruited kids to fill the program. We have been selling for years. The common theme is, if you don’t sell, you won’t have a job.”
Moreover, “You can’t be born with the name ‘Wayman’ and not be a natural salesperson,” he added. “Scott and I both inherited that from our father.”
Sales aside, learning how to price, purchase and market products was a huge challenge. Scott ran the back end of the business and due to his near photographic memory, “He did not leave much of a road map to run the business, everything was in his head,” Mark said — including the company’s passwords. Mark had to hire a tech expert to hack into the store’s computers just to be able to run the operations, but there were still plenty of questions. “How do we set up and display the products? How do we advertise and market?” he wondered.
A “Source” of Help
With Scott suddenly gone and their dad Gail unable to work the store due to health considerations, BrandSource and its members helped provide some of the answers that Mark and Alissa needed to keep the business moving forward. In particular, Mark cited BrandSource Region Manager Roy Radloff for his help, and fellow members including Doug Cassidy of Bishopp’s Appliance in Shelbyville, Ind., and Don Luecke of Luecke Audio, Video & Appliances in Seymour, as instrumental in pointing them in the right direction and answering their many questions about running a business they were very new to.
Since joining Wayman’s Furniture & Appliances last year Mark has attended a couple of BrandSource Region Meetings and the Summit in March. He said he has learned a lot in a short period of time and credits newly made friends in the group with accelerating his learning curve. Mark is also very excited about the company’s recently redesigned website. Since AVB Marketing revamped the site last month it has more than paid for itself, Mark said, noting that “We have had a lot more activity and can positively attribute additional sales to the new site.”
Live During COVID
Wayman’s was never forced to shut down during the pandemic; in fact, business has continued to be very good with little interruption, Mark said. Still, the family has cut back on furniture pieces to avoid being heavy on inventory in the event of further restrictions, and is making a conscious effort to only order items as needed. He said he looks forward to the day when all restrictions are lifted and business returns to normal.
“Had Myself a Ball in a Small Town…”
It is only fitting that a music man would be living out his dreams in a small Indiana town, just as John Mellencamp described it in his classic song:
“Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in this small town
And that’s probably where they’ll bury me . . .”
Mark and Alissa Wayman would not have it any other way.
BrandSource is a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc.