This week Turner Group will celebrate 30 years of business success
CEO and Founder, Laura Douglas, reflects on the journey from our beginnings in 1992
Our origin story doesn’t start with a grand idea for growth but one with a dream, a love of selling and an encouraging nudge from a customer Jack Fisher of Vaupell Industries, in Seattle, WA. There were no business plans, financial statements or bank loans. I was a 35-year-old, recently divorced woman looking to start a new life. Being single allowed me to work long hours, spend days on the road and make sacrifices that would have been much harder with a family and children.
In 1992, Technology centered around a thermal paper fax machine, a payphone, Thomas Brothers Map Book, a DOS computer and a matrix dot printer.
Living in the Northwest without a mobile phone meant knowing where the best payphones were. The Thomas Brothers Map book was covered in yellow, tattered post-it notes with turned-down pages and customer names scribbled on the edge of the pages. My phone book (Rolodex) referred to the page and grid coordinates on of the map book and was stuffed with torn-out yellow pages from phone books throughout the area that contained the word “plastic.”
Collectively, we discovered that the passion for service, human connection and love of technology was the key
It wasn’t glamorous. It was scary, exhausting and fun. No one thing had to be done, and there were hundreds.
After Norm Boshoff joined me in 1994 and Chuck Roehm in 1996, the next chapter was formed with a Mission Statement, Business Plan and clear Insight. Collectively, we discovered that the passion for service, human connection and our love of Technology was the key to our success. It allowed us to form a clear, dynamic vision of how we could help influence our industry.
We set out to serve our customers first, which often meant acting as a free consultant rather than a salesperson who was trying to make what we were selling fit their needs. We listened, and we shared. It became apparent that if we were going to sell any products, it would only be the best product in the market, or we wouldn’t sell it at all.
We met our obligation to our suppliers. We carry the individuals, families, and communities that manufacture the products with us every sale call we make. One of our core beliefs is that each of these people relies on and trusts us to do our jobs every day. Our customers rely equally relied on us to help them make their businesses successful.
Turner Group Mission Statement
Below are the principles we wrote in 1996 as part of our Mission Statement. The complete Mission Statement that formed Turner Group can be found by clicking here.
As a company, we have learned that these principles are what matter most. We keep our word. We seek the finest products and technologies on the market. We create strong relationships with our customers and suppliers, and we contribute to our industry, communities and environment. We believed in honesty as the company’s foundation, and if there is ever any question on business decisions, we always came back to our Guiding Principles.
Our team today is an extension of the founding members of Turner Group, and we are a family. We focus on culture to ensure each team member not only understands our history but our hearts and how we do business. As the company grows, we have to grow with it. Business Systems, Technology and structure have to be implemented at all levels, allowing us to be more responsive to our customers and more effective with our suppliers.
As Andrew Mason, Founder of Groupon, says, “Hire great people and allow them the freedom to be awesome.” We have a great team, and we protect the culture and individual as ferociously as we protect our customers and industry partners.
We fall, we stumble, and we make mistakes, but the principles of Turner Group continue to be our North Star. We can be relied on to tell the truth, to seek outstanding solutions for our customers and are committed to Move You Forward.