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Check out the photos from the Yale Club luncheon on 4/3/09. www.eldergroupusa.com Click on the Photo Gallery Link in the News section in the left side column. Upcoming event is the 3rd Annual Turkey & Trout Hunt in Upstate New York.

Thank you! Andy Elder

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Today we are happy to speak with Glenn Marthens, President & CEO of MiltonTerry.  MiltonTerry is a leader in commercial office furniture layout, design, installation, and service in Northern New Jersey metro area. Serving the needs of over 4,000 customers since 1975.

Mr. Elder: What do you attribute your success?

Mr. Marthens: I truly believe it is a matter of staying focused on the core business.   Of course extraordinary customer service, no debt, continuous improvements to our processes and lots and lots of hours helped the cause as well.  The Key is to be unique, make it easy for your clients to do business with you and let someone else be the hero for a job well done!

Mr. Elder: How do you find your opportunities?

Mr. Marthens: Most of our opportunities are from referrals by existing clients, networking and strategic partners. We do very little marketing.  We have just started a monthly newsletter by email.

Mr. Elder: How does your internal staff function?

Mr. Marthens: Business is all about the processes which are implemented and after 30+ years of business we have a good idea which processes can help us streamline and minimize issues for our clients.  As for the staff; First we check our egos at the door, second we cross train employees as much as possible.  One of the things I am most proud of is that my staff, which is a collection of sales, designers, administrative, warehouse and installation folks, can communicate very well because we don’t place one department or person on a pedestal.  Our sales and design departments cannot function nearly as well with out a first rate administrative, customer service, warehouse or installation team that supports them and they all must respect one another.

Mr. Elder: Does your team function as one unit in and out of the field?

Mr. Marthens: We pride ourselves in our logistics!  Yes, we are a design firm but design fluff is worthless unless you have a sound and fundamental logistics/process behind every installation, large or small, from beginning to end!

Mr. Elder: How do you promote your business?

Mr. Marthens: The best way to promote your business is to provide a service that will absolutely WOW your clients.  Exceeding the clients expectations by providing extraordinary service, making the process very easy and allowing the client to look good when the Job is done.  This will allow us to ask that client for help by referring us to the building management or to someone that can benefit from our services!   It really works!!!

Mr. Elder: Where do you see your business as a whole in 10 years?

Mr. Marthens: If we continue on our current path,  I can see us evolving into a premier dealership.  Today we are a hybrid of both New and Pre-owned office furniture with related design and relocation services.  I want to continue to grow all four areas as well as expanding our “Green” story.  Today we have 2 LEED accredited members, one being myself.  Our Pre-owned division has an excellent reputation; we avoid almost 250 tons of furniture ending up in the local landfills by reselling 200 tons and recycling over 50 tons of scrap metal and cardboard a year!  I would like to add to our reputation by earning the LEED certification to our building by adding Solar Panels.

Mr. Elder: What are some of the challenges you face as a business owner and how do you rise

above them?

Mr. Marthens: I am fortunate because we have 10 employees and over 120 years experience.  My challenge is to encourage my core team to continue to grow and adapt to the changes in the industry and in the world itself.   We have to continue to set ourselves apart from our competition by becoming more creative and inventive of the items our clients perceive as most important to them.

Mr. Elder: What sets MiltonTerry apart from other furniture companies?

Mr. Marthens: We make it easy and we try to educate our clients as to the options available to them regardless of their budget!  We are unique as having both New and Pre-owned options as well as Free space planning and design services.  We also control our own in house warehousing and installation services.  We do what we say we are going to do.

Mr. Elder: Can you share a success story about one of your clients (without naming names of course)?

Mr. Marthens: I would love too!   You introduced me to an architect Barry Poskanser, after a quick phone conversation between Barry and I, he invited me to his office.  I met with Barry and we had a wonderful conversation and a month later he called me to assist him and his designer on a $1,000,000 (yes, Million $) list project.  We worked together for the next 6 months designing and selecting the products that was eventually delivered and installed in their NY state office.  Things we so well that they invited us to design their expansion in NY state as well as in Canada. The Designer Diane Picyk recommended that we should apply for an interior design award, so she applied and won a Gold award from the American Society of Interior Designers.  Now that’s a success story!   Thanks to Andy we are very proud to tell our story!!!

Glenn Marthens, President & CEO, MiltonTerry
Office: 888-697-0600  Website: www.miltonterry.com

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Today I am interviewing Glenn Tippy president of GBW (Gerrity, Baker, Williams, Inc.).

Most importantly, Glenn’s company and Glenn’s business strategies and approach to client problem solving is extraordinary. We at the Elder Group have been told time and time again from clients how special GBW and Glenn Tippy are.

Mr. Elder: Good afternoon Glenn. I am happy to have this time with you to discuss your success stories. We at the Elder Group have heard from so many companies how great you are, I thought we might discuss your thoughts on you successes.

Mr. Elder: What are some of the challenges you face as a business owner and how do you rise above them?

Mr. Tippy: As with any business, we are affected by the broad economy. But we have had solid success and growth over the last year despite the environment. That’s probably due to listening to clients, working to protect their success by understanding their needs and exposures.

Mr. Elder: What challenges are your business clients facing in this economic environment?

Mr. Tippy: Our clients cover a broad spectrum of business so their results range from those who are having to cut back sharply, to those who are still growing dramatically each quarter. In general, our successful clients are watching their sales closely, by week or even day if that is possible. They are working to keep tight contact with their own existing customers, and pushing constantly for new customers by every avenue they have ever tried or can find. Of course, our clients are watching their expenses with a new intensity.

Mr. Elder: What is happening in the insurance industry?

Mr. Tippy: Well, prices are starting to rise and all consumers are always concerned with price, but we are also seeing a flight to quality. Since such icons of the insurance industry as AIG and The Hartford were downgraded from A+ to A, consumers have become concerned about the long term stability of insurance carriers. We check those ratings and receive updates daily. At this moment, we’re working to control insurance cost increases for clients as the market hardens, while keeping them in solid companies.

Mr. Elder: How do you find your opportunities?

Mr. Tippy: As always, referrals from existing clients and other people who respect us give us the best sales prospects, whether individual clients or acquisition opportunities.

I also expect all of our sales staff to be involved in their communities. Those communities may be geographic, as in their local towns. Or they may be industry specific, as for a sales person with a background in the pharmaceutical industry. Over time, if you have expertise, credibility, and ethics, and put in hard work in good causes, people get to know you and to trust your advice.

Traditional business promotion through trade shows, direct mail, and various forms of Internet presence can also work; if you have products to match the targets and a compelling story to tell.

Mr. Elder: What sets GBW apart from other insurance counselors?

Mr. Tippy: We approach our clients’ needs from a risk management perspective. Before you can quote a price or recommend coverage, you have to understand the client’s business. Someone who only wants a “me too” quote without review and discussion will find plenty of brokers who are willing to throw quotes at the wall without understanding. But you pay for counsel and should get it, before you find you don’t have what you need.

Mr. Elder: Can you tell us a success story about one of your clients (without naming names of course)?

Mr. Tippy: Minor issues can expose a client to substantial problems. New York State recently created a problem for businesses conducting business in NY on an occasional basis. A technicality in how Workers Compensation coverage is shown on their home state policies can expose businesses to fines. On that issue, just counting a few clients whose former agents mishandled that technicality, we’ve been able to step in and have $128,000 in fines rescinded.

On a broader scale, counseling clients to maintain high limits of liability insurance has probably saved more businesses and personal assets than any other thing we do. In personal insurance alone we can point to two recent automobile accidents where claims against our clients soared over the $500,000 policy limit, but were met by the umbrella or excess liability policies we recommend to every business and individual. That protection doesn’t take away the trauma and sorrow of the accident, but it can keep you from losing your business or your future income.

Glenn Tippy, President and Manging Partner of Garrity,Baker, Williams Inc. He may be reached at 1-800-548-2329 or visit their website at http://www.gbwinsurance.com.

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