The Hiring Path Less Taken
Meet The Folks At The Book Company
Doug Greenhut met Heather McKay while she was bartending his daughter's Bat Mitzvah party. Corinne Cooper was working at an art store 15 years ago when Greenhut and his wife walked in. Joe Jehle is a local ballet teacher who instructs the daughter of one of Greenhut’s business colleagues. From these circuitous paths, they have all come to work at The Book Company (asi/41010). "It's a gut feeling that Doug gets," says Cooper about how Greenhut finds employees.
Those qualities that Greenhut finds in unconventional places create a comfortable , friendly and decidedly ‘uncorporate’ atmosphere. Spend an hour with the employees of the Delray Beach, FL supplier firm – as the Road Tour team did at one of their regular birthday lunch outings – and the same terms get repeated over and over again. "Everyone here is very friendly and outgoing. Right away I felt like I was right at home," says Patrick Otero, who works in the warehouse and has been with the company for four months.
"There's a warm family feeling here," says Eddy Porta, the company's controller who has been with the supplier for nearly a decade.
"We're a pretty laid-back group," Cooper says. "We like to have fun doing what we do."
The dynamic starts with Greenhut, who founded the company nearly 20 years ago and has grown the supplier to 16 employees. Employees laud the flexibility he gives (McKay was able to work a year from home after the birth of her first child, for example) and the chance for everybody to give their input and exercise their own decision making. Account Manager Debbie Braunstein found it a refreshing change when she joined the company four years ago after working for two large suppliers. “They were corporate, we’re not,” Braunstein says about the differences. “Doug lets us do our thing if everything is taken care of.”
The rapport is easy and knowing between the employees, and the company augments the laidback environment through summer and holiday parties, which in the past have included a scavenger hunt and Iron Chef cook off. Employees have built a house for Habitat for Humanity, taken a spa day and gone together to an Aerosmith concert. Over time, the company has diversified its product line and expanded its employee count, but the feeling still remains.
"If anything, it gets more and more fun," says Cooper. "The more the merrier."