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123: Celebrating 70 Years of Queen City Audio Video & Appliances

Written by Rob Stott

June 14, 2022

Queen City audio video appliances independent thinking podcast

Started as a TV repair shop in 1952, Queen City Audio Video & Appliances has grown into a widely successful independent retail business in the Charlotte, NC market. As they celebrate 70 years in business, we sit down with second-generation owner Roddey Player and his kids Roddey Jr. and Kate to talk about the company’s legacy, their expansion efforts and more.


 

Rob Stott: All right. We’re back on the Independent Thinking Podcast and this might be the most attended or most participants in a single podcast here for Nationwide Marketing Group. But we got… It’s a family affair and I love it. You know? I love to see it. So, Roddey Player of the Queen City Team here today with Roddey Player Jr. and Kate Player, the kids of Roddey. So, appreciate all you guys jumping on and doing a podcast here with us today.

Roddey Player: Oh, absolutely, Rob. We’re looking forward to it. We always like to share with our dealer friends and with Nationwide, too. So, appreciate you inviting us onto the podcast, really.

Rob Stott: Yeah. Excited to have you. We talked about it ahead of time. But not our first podcast together, but the first time for Nationwide Marketing Group so appreciate you know, being able to reconnect and chat about a really cool thing that’s happening this year for Queen City and that’s a 70th anniversary. So, before we dive into that though, Roddey, tell us a little bit about your back story. I know you’re second generation. We got the third generation here today. Tell us about your background in the business and your path to Queen City.

Roddey Player: Yeah.  and to, Rob, while we’re on that subject my mother still works with us, and she’ll be 93 years old in July and still works. She’s, uh-

Rob Stott: That’s incredible.

Roddey Player: Yeah. We’re actually trying to get to the Guinness people and see if she’s the oldest remote worker in the country. But it’s… She’s working- she works out of the house and does a lot of great work for us in accounts receivable and vendor side of things too. So, we’ve got three generations that are working in the business today.

I mean, I was raised in the business like a lot of us that you talk to were. As a young child eight, nine, 10 years old my dad would drag me to the office and I’d wanna go out and play golf on Saturday mornings but he’d yank me out of the bed and take me to the office so I could clean it for him. Wipe down the displays and sweep the warehouse and all those kinda things. And really started doing it at a very young age. And really, just… Graduated high school. Worked in the delivery trucks before I graduated high school, and then once I graduated high school, went on the sales floor a little bit, went to college and started to advance through the organization at that point in time and did some different roles.

Had a finance background in college and always enjoyed operations too, which is always what’s driven our business and our industry and so, um just kind of… It was off to the races. It was pretty well decided before I got out of high school that that was what I was gonna do. Typically, you hear a lot of discussions about family business to send the kids to go do something else for a while, but my mom and dad needed help right away out of school.

Roddey Player: So, there wasn’t much discussion (laughs) about going to cut my teeth anywhere else. They were determined to get me in the business and just beat me to death when I got into it so- (laughs) … I was definitely gonna go somewhere else to learn. They just beat it into me as a young college graduate, but it’s been a great experience for me. Um, but I guess I’ve been doing this now for 38 years since I graduated school. It’s all I’ve ever done.

Rob Stott: Oh, that’s awesome. Now, I mean, you got third generation involved. Did you allow them to have that same path? Did you, you don’t have to… I don’t want child protection services here but you didn’t beat it into your kids, did you?

Roddey Player: Well, it’s different with your own kids. You don’t have to worry about child protective services. You can do whatever you want to them. It’s somebody else’s kids you gotta worry about. (laughs) But no. I’ll kinda let them give you background. You know Roddey- Roddey was the oldest. Uh, why don’t you maybe, Roddey, you talk about what your experiences were coming up.

Roddey Jr.: Yeah. Certainly. So, I still had some of the same experiences that that Senior did. Uh, honestly, coming in during summers, sweeping floors, working on trucks working in the warehouse. Uh, just kinda being whatever they needed me to be. But as I got a little bit older we kinda had conversations and there- there was no real pressure to come into the business and I kinda felt the pressure to go out and do my own thing for a little bit as I think Kate did as well.

Um, so really wanted to make sure that once I got back over here, it was a case of making sure that nepotism is not how I got anything. Uh, it’s really just coming into seeing and bringing value. So, I’ve actually only been in the business for, I guess, almost two years again full-time. Uh, again, not counting the eight-year-old to, I guess, 18. Every time we had a holiday, every time we had anything, every summer break, I was back in the warehouse helping out with storage, building displays, selling. I mean, just kinda doing a little bit of everything.

But most recently, I was a digital sales manager for a local broadcasting company here in Charlotte. So, I had built 10 or 15 sales reps under me basically operating as a full-service digital ad agency. Um, so, again, lovely transition back into the business being that once I kinda hit a plateau kind of where I was as far as a learning curve, kind of was able to get a little bit more flexibility than Senior had. I was able to go out and continue to learn new things from new people, and kind of bring some of that outside knowledge into things now.

Flipped that on its head a little bit. Coming from sales and marketing, now I’m in ops, logistics and purchasing. So, really trying to balance my way out here. Still got some of the same beating up that I’m sure came to him back in the ’80s. Starting a new role but, again, just kinda bringing in a new, fresh set of eyes on things, coming from outside world. I had about almost a decade worth of a sales and marketing career before coming back in and really, this is kinda the area that we needed some help. Um, and so just kind of being able to put some more sweat equity in and really help to keep rolling.

Rob Stott: How about you, Kate?

Kate Player: All right. So yeah. I did a little bit of the same. I was more in the administrative offices helping keep him straight and keep paperwork going every now and then in the office, but I wasn’t super involved growing up. Um, I went to college, and I went into the a financial analyst role at the Winston-Salem, at a technology company where I stayed for about four years. And one time when I was traveling, I came through Charlotte and met with my parents and (laughs) I got an offer.

The accounting manager at Queen City was looking to retire and since that was my background and based on my training and conversations that we’d had about what I was doing at my old company he wanted me to have a conversation with her and just see if that might be a role that I’d be interested in. And so, I came and worked with her for about six months before she retired and that was about three years ago. So, I’ve been here ever since, running anything from accounts payable and receivable to the accounting role here plus customer service and pretty much anything else that falls into my lap.

Rob Stott: No, that- that’s awesome. Hey, chance for you guys to air grievances if you will, on a public forum. What’s it like working with two generations of family. What’s the experience been like?

Kate Player: We do a pretty good job, honestly, working together. We’re pretty good at communicating with everyone.

Roddey Jr.: Sometimes to a fault. It’s got its good sides, it’s got its bad sides. But we make it through and even if we have a rough day at work typically, we’ll be over at the parents’ house or they’ll come over for dinner, lunch, whatever to kind of make sure we’re still on level but…

Roddey Player: That’s right. And we got a new grand baby there too. Roddey Jr.’s got a new grand baby so we’re working on fourth generation. It’s in training right now.

Rob Stott: Congratulations. As soon as he can-

Kate Player: We can’t hire him fast enough.

Roddey Player: We gotta- we… It’s hard enough to time-

Kate Player: We gotta grow them.

Rob Stott: As soon as they can grab a broom, right? (laughs)

Roddey Player: Yeah. You gotta grow your own these days. It’s so hard to find people.

Roddey Jr.: Pretty much. Yeah. Well yeah. She’s eight months old tomorrow. She’ll be I wanna say, probably give her about 16, 18 months and she’ll be in here with us.

Rob Stott: Oh, that’s- that’s awesome. Exciting for sure. For sure.

Roddey Player: Hey, Rob. Rob. One thing that we- you talked about the kids and going out and doing some things on their own a little bit. You know, the difficulties that as the… In a family business like ours is when you have the kids coming into the business what are their roles?

And, um so really the… I’ve been thinking about this since I was first married. The transition in the family business, ’cause it was transition to me and trying to do it the right way. And so, typically, you don’t always have a role for them to come into the business and fill a role. So, they kinda come in and they’re in other peoples’ ways and things like that frequently. And but we did have opportunities for both of them. So, it was real lucky.

Roddey Player: So, Kate mentioned the accounting manager was retiring, and so, Kate was able to spend four or five months, I think, with Melanie before she left and Roddey came in as we opened up our new warehouse that we opened up Memorial Day of 2021. And so that was the crux of the imitation and bringing him on in. He was having a lot of success as Kate was in this other role. So, we had an opportunity and a great need to bring somebody in and so and wants to learn another part of business too.

At the end of the day, we’re marketers. We’re- we’re administrators. We’re salespeople. We’re operations. And so, we have to learn all parts of the business if we’re gonna lead the business. It’s hard to make decisions that affect people in the business if you haven’t been somewhere around that role and understand what their challenge is and what they do. So, both of them have done a great job for us and allowed us to continue to just a super, super rapid expansion in the marketplace and outside of Charlotte too.

Rob Stott: No, that’s awesome. And I-

Roddey Player: Real lucky.

Rob Stott: Yeah. Absolutely. And kind of a unique way to transition too because we could talk about… You mentioned the expansion. And I know you guys, that’s a big part of this 70-year legacy you guys have been growing. So, talk about that expansion and what’s going on there and you know, we’ll dive a little deeper. I’ll kinda let you give the overview then we’ll dig into it a little bit.

Roddey Player: So yeah. 70 years. 1952 is when dad started the business and he was simply a TV repairman working out of a van and finished at World War II and got a call from a friend about a trades school in Lily, Kentucky about to learn how to repair television sets. And they really were hardly in the marketplace yet, so it was brand new technology and his friend saw it as an upcoming, blooming kind of industry and convinced him to come to Lily to go to trades school for a couple years and then he came back to Charlotte and had manufacturers that sold to retailer salesmen and service.

And so they were servicing TVs  and um, so it started simply as a TV repair shop  and got in the retail business with a little bit of help from the banks who had repossessed a bunch of TVs and didn’t know what to do with them so he would go fix them up and sell them and then go back and pay for them after he’d sold the TVs with one of his banking friends and got into retail business there and just kinda took off from there.

Add appliances in the ’60s and uh, and that became a- a real stable business back in those days too. You know? If you got back, those days not all houses had dishwashers and things like that.

Rob Stott: Yeah.

Roddey Player: So it was a fresh industry. But it’s gotten — it’s grown so dramatically. And it’s always been a stable business for us too. But 1952, 70 years is a long time and so I guess I’ve been here for about half of it, which is kinda cool, I guess. But, Charlotte’s been our home base and we feel like we’ve got a really strong market share in Charlotte, and with Roddey and Kate coming into the business, it’s a chance for us, as a group, to take a look at expanding outside the market a little bit.

Both of the kids and myself, we’re a Wake Forest family and Winston-Salem. We’ve got tremendous connections up there with the university with the buying group based up in Winston-Salem. We run trucks up there frequently for referral business and things like that for friends at Nationwide. And we’ve been doing that for a while. And so, we think it’ll be a natural fit for us to come in there and serve the market. There’s not any sort of an independent retailer in Winston-Salem like us since Robert Weisner and Ed Kelly had a business back a few decades ago.

I guess is when they were at their peak of the Kelly’s business back in those days. So, it’ll be fun to go back and fill in those shoes in the marketplace as a strong independent with a great brand assortment, great service levels and things like that. But, we just… as a matter of fact, we just signed a lease yesterday. First of June, and we hope to have it operating sometime in the third quarter of 2022, this year.

We’ve really been having a lot of discussions with Nationwide about what are the plans. Uh, are there some things that we should try and do together? And so, I think we’re gonna try and work on this as somewhat of a prototype so that we can take a look at everything that Nationwide offers and then and kinda hone the skillset and hone the offering so that that Nationwide will be involved in what we’re doing and hopefully be able to bring personnel in there, bring in interns to see how the business works. I think it’d be a good learning process for them, and it’d be a good challenge for us to take on some of those technologies offered.

It’s gonna be a lot of fun to work together with Nationwide on a lot of the things that we’re trying to do to really treat this is as somewhat of an ex- an experimental retail store and test all kinds of shopper marketing kinda techniques and display techniques and digital price tag techniques and kiosk techniques and whatever things we can do to try and push the technology side of things and how we display the product, how we sell the product. All that type of thing.

Rob Stott: That, obviously, presents a really unique opportunity and, exciting- it’ll be exciting to kinda follow that as you guys implement all those things into the store. Also, it brings up an interesting point about the difference between locations for Queen City. How different… You know, first of all, give us an overview. How many locations are there currently and then how different are they from store to store and kinda how do you decide what one store features as opposed to another and things like that.

Roddey Player: Yeah. We talk about that a good bit. So, in a business that’s 70 years old you- you don’t- you didn’t launch a format that you duplicate and time and time again. So, I’ve got six stores, seven counting our online presence. This’ll be the eighth location, the way we look at it. In Winston, it’ll be one of our larger locations, actually. The facility is 30,000 square feet west of warehouse in it too.

But, um each store is different, to be honest with you. There are challenges. Some of them are down as small as 11,000 square feet, and then this will be the Pineville store that you and I talked about on an earlier podcast is about 20,000 square feet.

And this 30,000-square-foot building will have approximately 20,000 square feet of display also. So, there are challenges in today’s world. We probably aren’t displaying quite as much product as we used to because availability and things like that and trying to buy deeper with fewer models, so we have availability. Um, so it’s a challenge. And markets, demographics could differ by marketplace. You know? So, we have to do those analytics and we’ve seen retailer fail by not realizing that each market is different  and so I remember years ago. There’s a- a Northeastern retailer that came down in the south and went to Atlanta and shipped out a bunch of snowblowers and snow mobiles and things like that into the Atlanta marketplace ’cause that’s what they always did. And so you have to analyze the market that you’re going into, and we had the luxury of all the different offerings that Nationwide has and the group programs, and so we could pick the vendors that’ll best suit that marketplace. But it’s just little tweaks here and there but overall, the scheme is fairly similar throughout the stores.

Rob Stott: It’ll be interesting to, like you said, it’s… You can’t carbon copy and pick up and drop a new store into a place and expect it to do well. So, it’ll be neat to see you guys, even within just the state of North Carolina be able to do that from store to store and maximize what you’re doing there. So, you know evolution. You talk a lot a lot about it, how the business has evolved. 70 years is a long time. So, what’s it been like for you going from when you started in the business and then, even for Kate and Roddey Jr., I wanna hear your guys’ take from when you guys stepped in, to kinda what you’re seeing today. How the business has evolved over the years.

Roddey Player: Yeah. Roddey, you got some comments there?

Roddey Jr.: Yeah. A little bit. One of the things too that we’ve been kinda working on with the new generation coming in is focusing on strategic planning and how we’re gonna get from where we are to where we need to be. And that’s something that, again, coming from a 31-year-old maybe falls on deaf ears sometimes with some of the people we’ve got. We’ve been very, very blessed to have a pretty high retention rate as far as who we’ve got working for us.

So, as we see in older sales force and older ops, logistics everything that we kinda see across the company that’s where you’re going to be seeing a little bit lacking as far as new technological advances as far as how can we work on efficiencies, how can we continue to grow this business and not just keep doing what we’ve always been doing.

So that’s something that we’ve always kinda seen as a… Not necessarily as a inhibitor to our growth but it’s something that we know has worked for a while. We know we’re in business because of what we’re doing and what we’ve done for the last 70 years. But we’ve got some lofty expectations. We’ve got some pretty high goals for the next few years to continue this growth trajectory that we’re on. We wanna make sure that we can do things more efficiently just… and really just kinda work smarter. That’s been kind of a drum that we’ve been beating for the last year is to make sure that everything is kind of in motion.

Everything is kinda rolling the same way continue to grow that momentum as we go. So again, falling back on practices that, I mean, even just thinking about going through the routing tabs of how we routed our trucks 10 years ago, everything is, again, just completely different. We print out the tickets and, oh, this one’s in Charlotte and this one’s not. So, make sure we put this in with that one and just literally just batch all the tickets together.

Now, relying on technology to make sure those are efficient. Make sure the guys are staying as busy as possible, and make sure they’re as efficient as possible. Trying to get as many stops out of each truck as we can ’cause, obviously, we wanna make sure that we’re minimizing that cost as much as possible. Uh, so, again, as we kind of move forward, it’s interesting to see some reluctance to some of the technology that we bring in. But, again, as they see the benefits to it as they’ve seen, oh, my workload just got a whole heck of a lot easier, it’s a whole lot easier to go out and sell more and make more money.

Uh, everybody tends to warm up to that a little bit. So, that’s been an interesting thing to see. Again, kind of a balance between, okay. What did we do back in 1952? And what do we do in 2002? Or and what do we do in 2022? I mean, that’s just kinda the thing that we wanna make sure that that we’re really focusing on to, again, not just kinda jump at every new bell and whistle. Uh, because, again, that’s kinda scary and it’s kind of expensive. And again, we know what we’ve been doing so we wanna make sure that we kinda find that line between what’s brand spanking new and what can we do to help supplement what we’ve already been doing. So that’s something that’s certainly interesting.

Rob Stott: No. It… Certainly, for sure. And Roddey, hearing Roddey Jr. talk about those kinds of things and the way he’s approaching him you- you know, thinking back to your kinda early days in the business, does it sound — is it sounding familiar? Is it like you know, kinda like looking back into the past?

Roddey Player: Yeah. So, when I got out of school there, we weren’t running automated POS systems back in those days. So that was one thing that I was determined to do when I finished school was to install our first computer systems back in the mid ’80s and when I started the analysis around how do we operate today or how did we operate then and to automate our systems would’ve been impossible to do. So, we really had to start to think about how do we — back in those days, four, five, six stores and everybody operated super independently.

And you can’t operate that way if you’re gonna have a computerized POS and a system that uh, that automates everything. So, we had to rethink how we were doing things back and then and really worked it for the next couple years on trying to think about how we would centralize things, centralize our buying, centralize our warehousing before we could automate and then, really, it was five or six years later before we pulled the trigger. In the early ’90s, did install a POS system, but it was difficult to do business at the volume we were doing it at. It was all done manually.

And so that was a lot of work just being put in then. But to install something like that in the early ’90s was an incredibly difficult task and some of the things that Roddey’s talking about and Kate and so we’re looking at is, are our POS systems the right systems to have in place and always trying to analyze our systems and our process just to make sure that they’re operating and what’s an efficient and effective and a profitable way for the business?

So, and at this point in time, significant changes should be analyzed and implemented by Roddey and Kate to determine if it’s right for them as they advance the business, ’cause those are the discussions now as, you know, I haven’t headed off into the sunset. But there’s a horizon on my career in the business, obviously, and so we wanna have a smoother transition and as they take more and more control of things like that then surely, they’re inputting their research and their ideas are being considered as we move forward.

Rob Stott: You mentioned that. You know… Each of you bring a unique kinda perspective to what you’re doing for the business in kinda where you are. I wanna throw the next question to all three of you. Maybe we’ll get a different answer. Maybe we won’t. We’ll see but what, from your seat physically where you’re sitting right now what is the biggest challenge that each of you face in sort of what you’re doing for the business? And what are ways you’re working to address it?

Kate Player: I think the biggest challenge right now is people. We need some more salespeople. We need some customer service reps. Everyone is working so crazy hard and I continue to be impressed with how much effort people have put in just to their day to day. But, for me, that’s kind of what the next hold up is, is we need to bring in a good number of people to be able to staff up our stores and staff up the admins — the admins so that we can get up to where we need to be.

Rob Stott: Roddey Jr.?

Roddey Jr.: Yeah. She says a good number of people. I’ll just settle for a number of good people. And that’s kind of the challenge that we always work through ops, logistics and purchasing, to kind of sit in between sales and all of our delivery teams and making sure — because that can be a contentious relationship between those every once and a while. It’s really hot on the sales floor and it’s really hot in Charlotte in the middle of summer too.

So, every once in a while, we’ll get some tempers flaring. Really, we wanna make sure that we just have buy-in across the whole system. We communicate this. Uh, we just got off a companywide call. We do it every Friday. We’ve done it since the pandemic started to really kinda debrief what everybody else was going through, make sure that you understand. Well, you know what? Sales may not have done this. They may not have been communicated correctly to with the builder.

Or they may not have given the proper information with the- with the specs or- or delivery may have may have not known or- or may have not done something correctly as far as what the salesperson was informed of but the contractor on the site told them something different. So, again, those are the things that we wanna make sure that we’re all kinda going in the same direction just to make sure that we’re really kind of buying in to making sure that they see the bigger picture to make sure that and it’s really kinda to make sure that, uh… Honestly, it’s just to keep this thing rolling.

Rob Stott: And Roddey?

Roddey Player: Rob, so our business has doubled in the last two years during the pandemic, and so it has been a… You know, Roddey mentioned the call that this Friday those first calls which I had them recorded it was really about you guys. Hang in there. We’re gonna be okay. We’ve got a plan. We know what we are gonna be working on to try and get through this.

And we’re blessed to make some really, really good decisions about our business and what we wanted to accomplished over the next, what we thought would’ve been a three to six month kinda window and it was about getting inventory and getting orders and into our barn and so… the barn wasn’t big enough and so went and got extra warehousing and wound up with a 100-140,000 foot warehouse central warehouse to serve the metro out of.

Um, but really, it has been just been incredibly difficult on our people. I remember… This is probably six months into it and one of our really super successful salespeople, super-efficient, does a great job, always has a good attitude — I walked by him in the break room one day, had his head in his hand and, man, he was about to collapse. You know?

I’m thinking, holy cow. What are we doing to everybody? And everybody’s feeling it. And we… Everybody that listens to your podcast knows, the pandemic beat us to death. You know? And so it’s… You know, our salespeople are selling twice as much as they did before and so we… This is what the process is again. What are we asking them to do to get through the day, and push to sell more? We’re always trying to sell more. Right? We never sellenough.

But yeah. Those have been the big challenges. And so, hopefully, I can try not to get too down in the weeds too much and trying to stay at a higher level. Look for those opportunities to try and improve the quality of life for our people and that means bringing in more people. And so, we’ve worked over the last couple of months on a strategic plan for the next three years to double the business again.

And so, we can’t just do that like we did the last two years by just letting the market beat us to death and just buy, buy, buy, buy, buy. We’ve gotta be real intentional about hiring people that really align with our culture and align with what our ideals are about, how we’re gonna serve customers and that type of thing.

So, we brought in resources to recruit and train and develop people to help us do these things and we are in a much, much better position personnel wise, overall, than we were, especially in sales. We’ve done a nice job getting some sales people. I know Kate’s talked about some of the support people and that we’ve added some people there, but we continue to grow. And so, we need to add more people to support that too. We’re making progress on it, but it’s not like waving a magic wand and all of a sudden, you got 38 people that show up to work the next day.

You gotta make sure they’re the right ones so that that you can keep them and they’ll be good contributors, be good citizens. You know? We wanna hire people that are good citizens within the company, and work well with others, and have that same- all the same ideas about what we try to lay out in our strategic plan.

Rob Stott: Certainly. And I’m sure any retailers listening to this are probably relating. You know? Shaking their hands like, yeah. That sounds like me. Nodding their heads right along with similar problems and challenges and also opportunities though, too, that certainly exist for them and, um just more reason to continue to wanna follow your story and support you guys in- in what you’re doing ’cause there’s… Just hearing about how that kind of growth has happened in such a short time is obviously very exciting. But it shows that more is possible, and we’ll be here to support. But one thing I wanna make sure to ask about is obviously, this is the 70th year for Queen City, so I know you guys got some big plans throughout the year. I wanna hear how you guys are planning to take advantage of such a big milestone for you and kinda what you guys are hoping to do throughout the course of the year.

Roddey Player: You know, one thing… So 70 years. We’ve obviously made a huge presence in the community and so we’ve got a chance to give back a little bit during that timeframe too. So, one thing we’re gonna do is, um around our 70th anniversary is we’re gonna pack 70,000 meals for No Child Hungry for the local market here in Charlotte. But we’re also gonna pack 70,000 meals and send to them to Ukrainian children too with the help of the No Child Hungry organization.

So, we’ve committed to do that and we’re gonna be looking at some other opportunities to do give back to community and Community in Schools is an organization here. Obviously we’re gonna have the big anniversary sale too, which we’re always — it’s always a great opportunity for a sale to celebrate those 70 years of operations. But, you wanna give back to the community too that’s been so generous to us, to support us all these years and even through those tough times of recession. You know? We were a viable part of the community and an essential part of the community.

So, they supported us through those tough times too. But we’re looking for more opportunities to give back, and so the school children are gonna be a big focus for us, No Child Hungry is gonna be a big focus for us, and we’re looking to get other organizations involved in that. So, for example, last time we packed meals, we had a great success. And if I remember right, we packed the one millionth meal for No Child Hungry and Nationwide Marketing Group.

Rob Stott: You did.

Roddey Player: Part of the way we got there was we went to organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters and so… And that organization brought their bigs and their littles, and they came and packed meals for us. So, it was a great event for us. It was a social event for them, and we had a great time doing that with them. And so, we’ve got other organizations that we’re lining up. You know, some leadership programs at the high schools in town. We were talking to some of them about coming, ’cause they all need service hours and so we’ll get them in.

And so if we’re packing 140,000 meals over a week or so, that’d be a great accomplishment. It’s gonna take a lot of manpower to do it and a lot of labor to do it. And so, but we’ll set up to do it so make it an efficient operation, and then we’ll also get some people in the showrooms too, which will be fun to bring some people who may not have been in the showroom before to come help us do some of that stuff. But, obviously, we’ve got a lot going on.

We’re challenging a lot of different media arenas to talk about it, and so we’ve got magazine articles coming out talking about it, we’ve got — my mother’s gonna do some of these interviews with us too, and have some pictures taken and as we talk about the evolution of the business over the years but, really this is the 70th anniversary, but there’s more coming for sure. And so, hopefully, I’ll be around for the 100th anniversary when Roddey and Kate are celebrating out there too.

Rob Stott: Oh, that’s awesome… And then, you know, Roddey Jr., your daughter may be sitting in on a podcast with you talking about what’s happening. (laughs)

Roddey Jr.: Yeah, you’re right.

Rob Stott: But to put it in perspective, those meals, I remember some of the early PrimeTime shows where 100,000 was the goal for the show over a couple of a days. So, to hear you guys are gonna do 140,000. That’s very exciting for sure and something we’ll look forward to pumping some noise about as well. So that’s awesome. But I… One- one thing I wanna close with one more question to each of you. You know, what, um sitting uh, again, here today, you talked about the opportunities that are kind of in front of you and, what’s the one thing that either you’re working on or the opportunity that you see that excites you about what’s to come for Queen City?

Kate Player: I’m excited for the Winston opportunity. That’s a market that we get to touch a little bit. But I think it’s gonna be really cool what we wind up doing with the space up there to really make it kind of a template for other people in Nationwide to potentially follow.

Rob Stott: That’s awesome. Roddey Jr.?

Roddey Jr.: Yeah. I’m out on the line the same lines. I think that’s the next logical step to world domination. (laughs)

Then from our distribution platforms, that’s gonna require a pretty big effort. Again, that’ll give us a little extra footprint. Typically, right now we’ve got a fairly wide-ranging delivery area. So, we’ve got to cut capacity on certain days and certain areas just depending on what we’ve actually got. As we expand that pool, as we open up that talent pool to new contractors, to new delivery people, to new installers that’ll be certainly a fun challenge for us to have in, like I said, that we wanna make sure that there’s geographical constraints. We can kinda make sure that that our ops and logistics can handle all that stuff. So that’s the next step.

Rob Stott: Awesome. And Roddey?

Roddey Player: Yeah. And I just, you know I’m looking forward to the eventual transition of the leadership. You know? I’ve got a great team that, along with Kate and Roddey, they are helping them gain the experience that they’re gonna need to be future leaders in the business, and so that’s a big focus. I say that this expansion, the next three years is a primary goal that we’ve got.

But, also on the same lines this’ll be something that is handed off to Roddey and Kate as future leaders to really make sure they can manage it and set up this dynasty that is impenetrable. You know, Roddey talked about world domination, but you wanna build up a business that’s so strong that it sustains itself and feeds itself. So, that’s part of that strategic plan. We’re trying to build a system, an ecosystem that feeds itself and continues to grow because of the way it generates its profits and revenues.

That’s what I’m looking forward to. That hand off of a strong, financially strong, stable business of people that are like-minded in how we serve customers and like-minded in how we wanna do it the right way, and then also be an effective and a great part of the community and part of our 70th anniversary. We’ll follow up with this and hopefully do some things in the community in Winston-Salem too when we get up there. That’ll be a lot of fun.

Rob Stott: Yeah. For sure. Certainly for sure and you know, it being closer to home for Nationwide will be fun too, and we’ll be there and help support it along the way. So, the Players, the Player family, I appreciate you guys taking the time this morning. This was a lot of fun chatting with you and always great to hear from you guys and share your story. I look forward to doing it again more often in the future. We appreciate it and look forward to seeing you all in Orlando here not too long down the road.

Roddey Player: You bet. Yeah. Just a couple months. Well, thanks a lot for your time too, Rob. Appreciate the interest in what we got going on and glad we could share and hopefully somebody will- will take some nuggets of information and help them grow too.

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