Elaine LaMontagne Hot Seat Interviewer
“The stand-out quality of the Wrens is they are REAL. Their experience in the business is deep, their focus on customer service is cornerstone, and their strategies match actual needs. Clients seem to return to them because they are encouraged to make intelligent decisions – not underwhelming or over the top. And just like Brad & Angelina, Bill & Hillary or Drew & Jonathan, they’re a two-for-one package.”
– Elaine LaMontagne, Hot Seat Interviewer
Raising a Modern Family Business to Fast Growth
Tired of bureaucratic corporate America, husband and wife team Brian and Stephanie Wren in 2003 started Atlanta Business Products, a provider of office environments, design and furniture. Undoubtedly a successful, family-owned enterprise, they are now looking to kick it up to the next level. This story is about how…
Q1 – On a personal note, how do you REALLY like working with your spouse?
A6 (Brian) – “It’s awesome. There’s no one we trust more than each other, and we have zero H.R. issues.”
Q2 – How do you elevate from a mom & pop to one with serious growth presence?
A2 (Brian) – “We prefer the term small team & big service! But our plan is the addition of quality salespeople. Emphasis on quality because it’s our customer service that has been key, particularly because we are not a showroom company. We need to constantly monitor our training of reps and client satisfaction so they keep coming back – that’s been our trademark. Ironically, in a world of growing technology, it’s people skills which rule for us.”
Q3 – What are the hottest office furnishing trends these days?
A3 (Stephanie) – “Hip over stodgy and a more open and collaborative environment. Desking and benching systems along with more breakout rooms are popular because they offer better idea sharing versus the out-dated cube layout. Employee interaction is key to problem solving and team building.”
Q4 – How has telecommuting, increased working from home and the economy impacted your industry?
A4 (Stephanie) – “Companies still need furniture, just a little less and a bit different – same with square footage of office space. Some companies are investing in ergonomic furniture which is comfortable and homey looking but designed to enhance productivity by minimizing operator fatigue and discomfort. Individual offices are still alive and well, but they’re combined with more interactive, open space for group communication. And for cost efficiency, we can arrange for furniture that is brand new or used, refreshed and refurbished. Great artwork and fabric are fabulous, but a new coat of paint also does a world of good.”
Q5 – Can Atlanta Business Products offer anything special to Oxford Entrepreneurs members?
A5 (Stephanie) – “We’ve placed an icon on our website exclusively for Oxford members – offering a free evaluation of your current or potential new space to see if we can maximize the square footage, as well as additional discounting for purchases and services. Our website is www.atlantabpi.com. Call Brian directly at 770-455-7010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to capitalize.”
[Elaine is a former award-winning publicist who represented Macy’s, Pano Karatassos and the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, Spa Sydell and the March of Dimes during her 20 year public relations career. Chosen one of Cosmopolitan Magazine’s “Top 10 PR Women”, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “PR All Star” and SOS Taste of the Nation’s “National Community Business Leader of the Year”, she now freelance writes for miscellaneous publications and companies and serves on non-profit boards]