Famous Tate’s 20 Reasons to be Grateful in 2020

Warehouse manager Corey Thrash received his “Tater of the Year” plaque from Famous Tate founder John Horst during a live webcast this morning.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Each December BrandSource member Famous Tate holds a companywide meeting to recap the last 12 months and name one employee “Tater of the Year,” the dealer’s highest honor.

This year’s “Famous Tate Wrap-Up” event was somewhat different, in that the traditional offsite gathering was moved online as a COVID precaution. But despite the challenges and, for some, the sorrows of 2020, General Manager Claude Ward heartened his staff with 20 positive outcomes from the pandemic. Here’s the full list of Ward’s optimistic affirmations — for business, for the world, and in our own lives — as he presented them at the meeting this morning:

Positives for Business

  • Consumers compelled to seek different retail outlets, including some who visited an independent dealer for the first time, resulting in new customers for life
  • Forced dealers to embrace new ways of doing business, such as hours by appointment, live chat, and other website enhancements
  • Added virtual platforms as an option for company and buying group meetings
  • Sales teams forced to learn company computer systems to track down inventory
  • Consumers saving money by skipping vacations, movies and dinners out, and reinvesting in their homes, to the benefit of appliance, bedding and furniture dealers
  • Vendors re-thinking their supply-chain strategies to avoid future shortages, and realizing the benefits of domestic production
  • Dealers attracting new talent as other industries struggle, bringing valuable new skillsets with them
  • Lower insurance rates including Workman’s Comp, which has been significantly reduced as the manufacturing ranks thin

Positives for the World

  • The cleanest air in decades amid reduced car and plane travel
  • Wildlife rebounding
  • Lowest gasoline prices since 2008 as more employees work from home
  • Lower auto insurance rates (see above)
  • Wars and regional skirmishes put on hold
  • A renewed focus on health, nutrition and fighting poverty
  • The end of the handshake (and the start of routine handwashing)

Positives in Our Own Lives

  • People motivated to learn how to cook (as reflected in Famous Tate’s cooking product sales), resulting in healthier and less expensive meals
  • People exercising at home, and rediscovering public parks for hiking, biking and kayaking
  • Parents more involved in their children’s education, now that many students are learning online
  • A newfound appreciation of and humility for everyday things like toilet paper when in short supply

Most Grateful For…

Ward said he was asked by a local reporter what he’s most grateful for at Famous Tate, and cited the fact that not one life was lost to COVID-19 throughout the company’s extended family, and that no employees were laid off during the pandemic.

To make sure it stays that way, Ward urged all staffers to “keep on doing what we’re doing,” and to “not let up on safety.”

The virtual year-end meeting ended with the awarding of the “Tater of the Year” Award, named after the dealer’s Tater the Tortoise mascot. Although “the whole company” is deserving of the honor after this year’s tribulations, Ward said, the award went to warehouse manager Corey Thrash, a 20-plus-year veteran of Famous Tate. Founder/owner John Horst described Thrash as a “mentor, friend and encourager” to fellow employees, and “a true professional” who is dependable and honest.

Added Ward, “Sometimes the loudest voice in the room is from the quietest person, who lets his actions do all the talking.”

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.