Meet Paige Kusel, GM at Kusel’s

Paige Kusel (right) on a Nashville scavenger hunt with fellow YP members Drake Drees of Drees Electric and Carson Foley of Weir’s Appliances

This Young Professional is wise beyond her years

YSN Staff

Paige Kusel is the general manager of Kusel’s Furniture & Appliance in Riverton, Wyo., and a member of AVB’s Young Professionals (YP) networking and idea-exchange group for 20-40 somethings.

We recently cast the YP spotlight on Paige, who spoke to the challenges and rewards of growing up in a family business.

How long have been with Kusel’s?

Well, I was raised in the business since I was three and adopted into the family when I was 13, so I’ve known the business in’s and out’s from childhood. I worked part time during the summers in high school, then took a few years away from the business after I graduated. I rejoined the business as an entry-level sales assistant in February of 2019, so I’ve been moving up in the business for five years now.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Push pebbles. It’s more realistic than moving mountains. I learned this lesson when I was 15 at a youth leadership camp and it has forever stuck with me.

As a young professional, how do you make yourself heard when you’re surrounded by older colleagues?

This is a problem that I do sometimes struggle with still. I have been working hard to prove my abilities in this career and people still assume that since I’m so young and in a role of leadership, that it was all just handed to me by my father. I let my abilities and hard work do the talking for me now. I feel I can gain the respect of older colleagues by working hard in every aspect of the business, and keeping my knowledge of the business current and with the times.

What’s your proudest achievement and why?

My proudest achievement is that I’ve never given up on myself. I have had times where I have wanted to quit at things that felt impossibly hard, and to lower my goals in life to something easier. I have never quit, even in the hardest moments. I am proud of myself for being able to work full time, go to school full time, be an active member in my family outside of work and also find time to be with friends and people that make me happiest.

What’s the most important thing a young person should keep in mind when they’re trying to advance their career?

Regardless of what career path you are on, don’t let the industry break down your passion. Everyone is able to create change for the better. Follow what you believe.

What is one thing you did in your career that surprised your friends?

I think my friends were surprised in general that I decided to work at Kusel’s in the first place, as they understand working for family is hard. I think my family is still surprised every time they hear my customer service voice when I’m answering phones.

What’s a change you’d like to see in your industry?

The biggest change in the industry that I’d like to see is customers’ outlook on small local businesses. The number of times I see people assuming that small shops are more expensive than big-box stores is frustrating. We have been in this community for over 40 years and still have customers shocked when they find out our prices are the same or lower than stores like Home Depot.

If you couldn’t be in the career you are in, what would you do instead?

Well, fun fact about me: I am currently enrolled in school to get my masters in mental health counseling, so I’d have to say being a counselor would be my career path. My dad keeps saying when I buy the business I can just run my counseling career out of the back office. Though if I could really do what I’d wanted, I’d be a professional nature photographer, traveling the world and taking photos.

What have you gotten out of your participation in Young Professionals?

The biggest takeaway for me from this program is that it’s OK to put myself out there, meet new people and do things that push me past my social bubble. I believe anybody that doesn’t think they can handle coming to these meetings alone should definitely attend at least one YPU event. There are so many friendly people that will welcome you into these meetings with open arms, even if you’re shy at first.

What’s your favorite summertime meal, cocktail or snack?

Turkey burgers, grilled zucchini, my mom’s shrimp salad, fruit salad with fresh mint and my Aunt Rosemary’s berry fluff salad for dessert. Kusel BBQs are always the best! 10/10 recommend!

The next YP University will be held Aug. 24-25 at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas and will lead into the 2024 Convention. For more information, click here.

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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