Better Together Has Never Been Truer

Nurse Rebecca Hadenfeldt receives a gift card from Ken’s Appliance’s Meridith Turner commending her work assisting COVID patients at the Cancer Center in Grand Island, Neb.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

The following column appears in the current issue of YourSource Magazine. Its message of unity and fraternity is particularly poignant on this day, the 19th anniversary of 9/11, when so many gave so much.

In my past life as a business magazine editor, I heard many claims by many buying groups, some more audacious than others. (Not naming any names, but I think you know who I mean.)

In contrast, BrandSource’s mission statement seemed the most noble and focused of the bunch: To serve the members above all else.

As a seasoned and somewhat cynical journalist, I took the credo with a grain of salt. But now, well into my second year as an AVB team member and privy to the inner workings of the group, I can tell you without hesitation that the BrandSource staff lives, breaths and bleeds for the members, and that CEO Jim Ristow plainly sets the tone.

A corollary to that principal is what Jim describes as the “M Factor”: Members helping members, and the role that BrandSource plays in fostering a fellowship of dealers. Again, a more jaundiced eye might arch an eyebrow. But in the weeks and months since coronavirus hit these shores, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with and sharing the stories of multiple members who came to the fore to assist their fellow dealers and communities during the health crisis.

There was Shauna Runkle, owner of Ja-Mar TV, Appliance & Bedding in Portland, Ind., who, through sheer dogged determination, secured a large supply of freestanding freezers — and promptly shared her shipment with fellow region members.

Then there was Don Frank Sr., owner of the L.H. Brubaker chain in Eastern Pennsylvania. After his county was declared a COVID-19 hotspot, Don’s HR Director Donna Perkins developed a comprehensive manual on how to conduct business safely and efficiently in the “new normal.” Like Shauna, Don’s first instinct was to share his operational insights with the members, and he sent the document to YourSourceNews for dissemination.

Todd Hall, President of Duerden’s Appliance in Bountiful, Utah, took it a step further by compiling a host of illustrated safety practices he received from dealers, suppliers, customers and even competitors across the country and posted them on YourSourceNews.

On the community front, we were moved by the actions of Meridith Turner, General Manager of Ken’s Appliance in Grand Island, Neb.; Jennifer Lingenfelter, President of Logel Appliance in Upstate New York; and Tracy Ainslie, co-owner of the aptly named Heartland Home Store in Sturgis, S.D.

Meridith decided to celebrate and reward the tireless sacrifice of her town’s nurses by holding a National Nurses Day Giveaway, while Jennifer assisted area farmers by alerting residents to the availability of locally raised beef and pork during the height of the meat shortage. And when her town was short on PPE, Tracy began sewing handcrafted fabric facemasks with inspirational messages and donated the proceeds to a church-based community project.

These are just a few of the hundreds if not thousands of untold tales of BrandSource members who went above and beyond in a time of need. They are the embodiment of the “M Factor,” and we are proud to know them and honored to serve them.

Alan Wolf is Senior Communications Specialist for YSN publisher AVB/BrandSource, the nation’s leading merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, consumer tech and home furnishings dealers.