What is it like to work in the family business? How do you make it your own and work with confidence and autonomy? Jason Goemans of Goemans Appliances joins Leon to talk about how his mentor and father, the late and great Tony Goemans, enabled him to succeed in his role. Jason also discusses how his business has adapted and grown tremendously amidst a real estate boom.
If you’re interested in one of our The Way Forward live webcasts, please visit https://peo-leadership.com/. Please reach out to Kelly May [email protected]
If you’d like to listen to some of our past webcasts, we have recordings on our COVID-19 resource page (https://peo-leadership.com/covid-19-resource-centre/). Guests have included University of Toronto’s Janice Stein, Harvard’s Rosabeth Kantor. We’ve talked about such topics as mental health, rent negotiations, the stimulus package and a host of others.
If you’d like to find out more about our leadership community, please feel free to reach out directly to [email protected].
If you enjoyed today’s podcast, please subscribe and give us a review on Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Special thanks to Sharon GQueues for helping us bring you today's pa leadership snippet podcast. Welcome to our snippets podcast. I'm Leon Goren, CEO and president of PEO Leadership, North America's premier peer-to-peer network and leadership advisory firm. Today we welcome Jason goemans, President of goemans appliance and vice president of tg appliance and tg being tasco. And Goldman's appliance which merged about eight years ago. And remember it Michelle captains advisory team at peel leadership. Goldman's appliances was founded over 40 years ago by Jason's father and mentor, Tony goemans, who passed in 2013. Today, TG operates with 14 locations. Although it's like many of us, they've now become accustomed to serving customers with the same passion, passion and service online. Jason, it's great to have you with us today.Jason Goeman:
Thanks for having me on.Leon Goren:
So let's jump into talking about family business. You grew up in a family business, and now you're working in the family business. And I know we've got lots of listeners that are interested in terms of what's it like to work in a family business? What's it like to grow up in a family business? Are there any insights or any advice you can share with them?Jason Goeman:
Stay away from it. Just kidding. No, you know, growing up in the business, like many family businesses, first generation to second generation, you've got the typical dynamics with everybody hands on humble beginnings. I watched my parents struggle for a long time trying to keep the business going. My mom gave up a nursing career to raise the kids for kids and also for at home. And my dad started up with about $2 to his name and did everything he could to keep it going and build a brand. So, you know, we grew up, you know, I was selling appliances, and through high school and helping me put myself through university, my brothers, I have two twin brothers behind me that were also involved in the business. My younger sister actually went into teaching, she was a smart one. But it My dad was a mentor. He was he was actually my best friend. And we kind of grew up together. And before he passed 15 years before that.Leon Goren:
He talked about, you know, it's such a great story. I mean, with the fact you call your dad, a mentor, your best friend is so huge, like I see so many families where it's it's it's definitely not like that, as you grew up and your father was sort of mentoring you. What type of leadership styles What did he help you out with in terms of making you the leader you are today?Jason Goeman:
You know, the, my dad was a mentor did not just meet a lot of people. He was a genuine, humble, pleasant guy. they genuinely love the business he was in. And he was just like a source of gravity. People just kind of flocked to him, because he was always happy, always felt a glass half full. It took a lot to get him upset or stressed. And they were different. It was a different time back then. But somehow he was able to run the business and still be helping coach t ball on soccer practice. He was the ultimate quintessential family man. family was first word for my my parents and my dad. And there's still a big hole there where he's gone now. But his legacy lives on through his family and friends and doing well. That's the biggest thing is he was just a genuinely happy person that loved to have his kids and his family around the business and never expected to do major things in life, or become the next Jeff Bezos. But he's just happy to have his kids and his family around and part of the teamLeon Goren:
and the family like including yourself, Was this your first job? Like, you know, I always hear the talk about I don't want my kids to be in my business at first let them go work somewhere else and they come work in our business afterwards. Was it the same for you guys?Jason Goeman:
Not really, and my dad never suggested me come into the business. I mean, my first job was a paper route. I worked at a tire did a few things. But when I went to Western and the idea was for to go and get my undergrad and then take a few years off and do the MBA. But at the time, there was a lot to be done. And I when I did my my BA at Western kings I came back and I ended up going to the office I got a taste of it, the marketing the sales, there was a growth opportunity. So I kind of never went back for my MBA and i i i jumped at my dad had his honors business from Lori and he went up he still to this day, but I kind of went into I loved it. I learned as much on the trunk delivering appliances for customers as I did in the office, and I just didn't have the appetite to go back to school. Now, I would not give advice today. It's different now but 20 years ago, it was a decision that that I made that I still I don't regret because I got a chance to work with them and we were just two peas in a pod and kind of just fell into it.Leon Goren:
Such a great story. That's That's awesome. Now I know you. You started something called the game. A number years ago, and this year, it's a little different. It's, you know, it was a game as a charitable event that you had done. It was a memorial. Can you maybe tell us a little bit? Tell us a little bit of the history of it, but what you're planning to do this year as well?Jason Goeman:
Okay, well, specifically the the game as we call it, it's the Goldmans annual Memorial Day. So about nine years ago, I lost my my son hunter in a tragic accident. And then shortly after I lost my father, Tony to cancer. And it was a really dark time. And I got into the verge of the very same time. And the game was just a way of me celebrating both two great souls, my son and my father, and it kind of spiraled from an industry event and grew it. So there was an annual golf day, Glen Abbey and their honor, and on behalf of the CIO, which is a charity that the the proceeds have been going to. And last year, like everything, like common story, things are disrupted or halted because of COVID. And then again this year, so because we couldn't do the physical game. And then at the course, we decided to take the price table, which is pretty significant. So $100,000 worth of prizes that are generous suppliers and trade partners have helped us procure, and we're doing online raffle that can reach a lot more people for, you know, $5 tickets, which is coming up in a month from now, to try and help the struggling charity that I become quite attached to. And Tony and Tony and hunters have the honor. And it's really cathartic. It makes me feel good to I know it's cliche, but to get back, it kind of keeps them Top of Mind and aware in their memory and bring bring some good to some some disabled and less fortunate kids that desperately need to be able to utilize these camps. It's such a shame that this COVID is disrupted even that aspect of of it. So yeah, we're gonna try and see what happens this year and go from there. So Jay, ILeon Goren:
know that our members will know where to go. But so many people listen to this podcast, if you're just an outsider listening in today, where can they go to find out more if they wanted to?Jason Goeman:
Well, in about a week from now, we're gonna release it on actually the goldmans.com website, slash kids kids camp raffle, there'll be a thing right on the main page, they will go to and we'll we'll have a social media and awareness and public burn is going on. So they'll definitely hear about it even without that. But it's just our humble way of trying to keep something going and for all the right reasons. And to be honest, this might be a net positive, because we would the there might be more proceeds coming from more awareness for all the right reasons. So as opposed to an insular industry sort of a one day event, this may have a better chance to do more. So it might be net positive. Having said that, so we're crossing our fingers.Leon Goren:
That's great. So let's take it back. Now back into the business side of it. And I know you've been at po for for more than a year. But we're back in March 2020, April 2020 pandemic hits, we're now sitting a year from that, from that point in time. Talk to me about any big surprises that sort of hit you that you wouldn't have predicted back then.Jason Goeman:
Everything worked out perfect. Everything worked out perfectly as expected. For one I didn't think I'd be sitting for one, I didn't think I'd be sitting in my bedroom having this conversation with you because my two kids are occupying the den in the family room for this conversation because their own scoring. The second thing to be blunt is our sales have gone up, which is strange. We thought the role was going to crash from a sales perspective when our stores were closed down. But this ridiculous housing boom that has been prompted by the keyboard cost and people's desire to move and to greener pastures, I guess is where we're fortunate to be tied to the housing industry. So we're selling a lot. There'll be like so many retailers we can't get the product. Our suppliers and supply chain is just been just been crippled by the lack of stock and parts which is something that's been talked about on the news and everywhere like so many industries short supply is really a double edged sword. So sales are up stock is hard to get the frustration levels never been higher for customers and tried to manage that there's been a huge struggle. When we never we didn't foresee that either as the stock shortage and sales up that disconnect has been a huge stumbling block for us.Leon Goren:
It's funny, I we were looking at bikes this past weekend. And you start reading about the bike industry and they're saying inventory will be meat 20% of the demand this year. That's all the bikes that are coming into this country this year. Is it the same for appliances like do we just is the year done? Or will it catch up?Jason Goeman:
Well, funny anything tied to home or cottages. So your bike story is the same as for barbecues or outdoor anything to do with outdoor or home recreation tools. It's all Saying no appliances isn't as bad. There is stock. The problem is the the amount of choice we've been accustomed to the last few years, there are 1000s of skews almost made to order. And the supply chain has really shrunk back to just a certain amount of things are coming. So it's there is stock, you're just going to wait longer for it. And we're not used to saying, you know, sorry, CES in three to six months. And when people bought prior and had hoses closing, and they can't get the stock because the hole just in time system is no longer just the time. It really is a disrupter. So you've got the patient's expectation now is much different. And it's probably going to be another six to eight months before we get back to whatever the pre COVID. Normal is. But yeah, it's it. We're definitely not there yet.Leon Goren:
What about the customer experience, I know like we're in a lockdown again here for what, six weeks or something nobody retail shut down. The move to virtual stores in terms of people being able to see what you've got, or online. How's that working like is it really transformed the business for you guys?Jason Goeman:
Well, to be blunt, it's propelled our online activity more by a few years. So our percentage of sales online is incontestable tour to obviously our in store when when people are paying 510 50 $100,000 on appliances. That's not something you're going to buy online, unless you're forced to. So our our online is a combination, not just the e commerce but also the virtual chat that facetiming the the digital aspect of it is getting our sales people to now engage on an omni channel opportunity. So we're thinking a ton of resources into that and trying to adapt. And I think a lot of it will stay post COVID people are now comfortable, more so than they made, they would have been buying online or talking to people through the phone or through, you know, the the web's the webcast. So I yes, we're adapting. But it's still a shame when we've got such great beautiful experiential stores not being utilized for those bigger types of purchases, purchases.Leon Goren:
Okay. And just the last thing i knew i, you and I were chatting about this, and one of the other wasn't a big surprise for you, but you mentioned your people. And, you know, having them step up over this past year, it's just been an incredible, incredible thing. And it's been like that for a lot of organizations, but maybe laborat a little bit on that in terms of I don't think it was a surprise for you. But it was it really made a difference.Jason Goeman:
100% I I'm humbled and excited, and it doesn't keep this COVID doesn't keep me up at night, in a way because we know how our team came and stepped up the leadership, the trust, people just working from home and, and making things happen, everything from our IT department to our service, the troops really rallied, and the sales people going through everything in the stores. And there were so many changes and reactions and pivoting that were pivots been abused in our industry, but I couldn't be happier about our team. And I think in a lot of ways, it's made us stronger. A lot of the fluff gets cut out when you have to really step up and say, Okay, what are we going to do here? So, from a strategy and a leadership perspective, I think tg is stronger. Because it COVID in many ways than we were before. And I know it's cliche, people in a business where we have skews that can be bought anywhere by big box online, that people are the difference on the front lines, and throughout the process those touch points. So I'm more confident than ever that we were doing the right things, maybe not fast enough for some people. But we know our place in this world as far as appliance retail that we've got a path and just glad to be by the team to rely on.Leon Goren:
So I'm going to ask you, because I truly believe culture and the inspiration, engagement of people always starts at the top. Is there anything you can share with us that you guys do that really took your people to another level inspired them engaged? And what are you guys doing at the leadership level? That's really made a difference here?Jason Goeman:
I think I'm outside of that, you know, the town halls and little baggies, I think what we've done is we've enabled our most of our management teams to make decisions on their own in real time without the typical red tape or second guessing, not so much ask for forgiveness instead of permission, but we've really engaged and allowed them to, to, to respond almost within a business within a business mentality. So I don't know if that's a specific answer. But it's true. we've extended trust that we might not have a necessity and it's absolutely amplified back and raise the bar across the board. And it's almost tangible Leon that we've seen performance, performance bars been raised and meeting challenges without having to micromanage or expect they're doing these proactively. I'm in a remote environment where it's, it's hard to do digitally, you missed the buying and that culture at the office in the water cooler talk. And you know that Mojo. And I do wish somebody does come back in time. But we have a new level of trust for our leadership team. And we just keep, you know, celebrating that.Leon Goren:
That's awesome. And thank you for sharing that. Jason. That's all. That's great. So, Jason, I want to thank you for joining us and again, sharing your insights. If you're interested in our live webcast, the way forward live and any other snippets, please take a moment and visit us at peo-leadership.com you'll find on our site various previous recorded webcasts, which include guests such as Professor Janice Stein, Harvard's Rosabeth Cantor and Michael beer, Robert chestnut, Dr. Greg wells, Dr. Jason Selk, Mitchell Goldhar, and many more as we cover such topics as Mental Health Leadership, the world reset, and a host of others. Thank you for joining us today, and we look forward to seeing you again shortly.Jason Goeman:
Thanks very much.