A Leap of Faith leads to All Things Service

September 10, 2020

A Leap of Faith leads to all things service


Highschool sweethearts Joe and Gina Poppema purchased Rod’s TV & Appliance from Rod and Celia Heckathorn in 2002. It was a “big leap of faith,” remembers Gina. After all, they were only 23 years old. Joe had been working for Rod’s in service and installation for a few years while the Poppemas were attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. The Heckathorn family had lost their son who was supposed to take over the business, according to Gina.

“It was an honor when Rod approached my husband to buy the store, but it was a hard decision because we were so young,” said Gina. “We started dating at 16, married at 21 and bought the business at 23.”

It was Joe’s love of the appliance industry and people that inspired him to take the leap into business ownership. Rod’s TV & Appliance had a great following and a good reputation, Gina remembers. “Rod was well known in the community for his integrity and we wanted to honor him.” So, for seven years, the Poppemas didn’t change the name of the business.

In 2009, Joe and Gina celebrated a ribbon cutting for Joe’s TV & Appliance—not only a new, larger location in Orange City, Iowa, but also a new name to reflect Joe at the helm. The new showroom was triple the size of the original location. As brands were added and the business grew, Joe remained committed to service, hiring two fulltime service technicians, allowing him to remain in the store to work directly with customers. 


For Gina and Joe, keeping up with the changing pricing had been a large source of frustration.

“Vendor pricing, MAP, discounts, etc. are changing weekly, sometimes daily,” shared Gina. “I love working in spreadsheets, but still couldn’t keep it all straight. It was so confusing. I would spend hours not finding the answer I was looking for.”

The pricing frustrations would then lead to trying to keep up with the digital marketing front. “I had spent a lot of time trying to learn everything because I enjoy it,” said Gina. “I hired part-time gals, including a college intern to assist me, but it became too much. I’m out of time.”

THE SOLUTION – RWS Suite of Products

In August 2018 at Nationwide’s PrimeTime, it was a Nationwide Learning Academy class from Retailer Web Services (RWS) Jennie Gilbert which started the relationship with RWS.

“Instead of staffing and always starting over with an intern, we decided to sign on RWS as if hiring an expert in the field. It was well worth the investment,” said Gina.

Gina and Joe signed up for the full RWS suite, including a Webfronts® Level 4 website, Webfronts® Review™, RetailDeck® and AdRocket™ which had been bundled into one smart and affordable package. All the products work together to give the best digital experience and allow Gina and Joe to focus on their customers.

“We’re already wearing many hats. Do you want to spend time on digital marketing or be with your customers?”


Soon after Gina and Joe signed up for the RWS suite, they began using the WebFronts® app to control it which allowed them to manage some of the previous pricing frustrations. “It’s a day-to-day useful tool that takes several different types of data and creates a pricing formula that works for us automatically,” explained Gina. “You can set your prices to MAP, MSRP, etc. and RetailDeck’s® Market Watch settings alert you when there are changes. There are 300 pieces on our floor and over 4,000 pieces on our website. We’re working on perfecting our formula, but I believe in this product.”

Gina added, “AdRocket™ Boost is my favorite piece of the puzzle! We’ve been doing mainly Google Text, Display and retargeting (also called remarketing) since January, and I see a lot of potential.”

Throughout the process, Gina was very appreciative of the team at RWS as well. “RWS has hired and developed such a great team making my RWS-AdRocket-WebFronts experience seamless. I cannot tell you how much that helps me—it allows me to go help customers instead of sitting at a computer trying to coordinate images and/or advertising!”

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