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A Message from one of our franchisees, BlueGrace Jacksonville!

 

Jeff Lavallee and his staff at BlueGrace Jacksonville wishes you a Merry Christmas!

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Why These Two Best Friends Opened a Franchise Together at Age 28 – Entrepreneur

Randy Vlasic and Alex Veinot have been best friends since high school. After college, the pair ended up working together as sales executives for the same company. However, the duo longed to open their own business. Here is how they decided that BlueGrace Logistics was the perfect vehicle for their entrepreneurial drive.

Name: Randy Vlasic and Alex Veinot

Franchise owned: BlueGrace Logistics in Bloomingdale, Ill.

How long have you owned a franchise?

We signed our franchise agreement in November of 2013. Recently having our one year anniversary, we are more excited than ever about where our business is going.

Why franchising?

Franchising provided us a turnkey system that was proven to work. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, we bought into a company that has shown unbelievable growth, with a revolutionary approach to an already familiar industry. Branded as a national leader in logistics, we were able to bring immediate value to our customers and grow substantially faster than if we had started a company from scratch. The benefits of having all facets of a business already designed and ready to be implemented was a major factor in our decision to move forward with the franchise. As new entrepreneurs we knew our time would stretch thin, so having everything in place was critical in giving us the ability to focus on what mattered most: Growing our business.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Best friends since high school, we had always dreamed of opening a business together. Immediately after high school, both of us worked in various sales positions while we focused on our college education. Staying in touch throughout the years, we ended up as sales executives with a third party logistics provider. Quickly advancing to the top two sales executives in our company, we were forced to look for other avenues as our company began to cut back.

To continue reading this article in Entrepreneur, click here

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Does Corporate Culture Matter At B2B Companies? (Or Just At Zappos And Starbucks?) – Forbes

When you think about great corporate cultures, your mind likely jumps to, you know, all the brands that corporate culture consultants, speakers and thought leaders tend to focus on: Zappos. Starbucks. The Container Store. Southwest Airlines. Generally companies with great B2C (retail) customer service or at least, like Pixar, high consumer visibility.
But company culture is just as important to companies in B2B, which are more likely to fly under the public radar. Here’s a nifty example of a company in the B2B arena with a carefully and intentionally constructed corporate culture. The company is BlueGrace Logistics, a company that you’ve never heard of and may never again. What they are is a logistics company that helps North American businesses move their freight in what they claim is “the simplest and smartest way possible.” They’ve been on the Inc 5000 in both 2012 and 2014 (a list of the fastest-growing companies in America), and also–and they seem just as proud of this–on the list of Best Places To Work from 2011 through the current year.

Here’s my interview with BlueGrace CEO Bobby Harris.

Micah Solomon Often it seems that discussions of corporate culture focus on B2C companies like Zappos and Starbucks. But you’re a meat and potatoes B2B logistics organization. I am fascinated by what you have done to create a culture. Can you share several of those things with me?

Bobby Harris, CEO, BlueGrace Logistics It certainly isn’t as common to see culture so prominent in a B2B company but I still haven’t figured out why it isn’t. Having a great culture addresses so many of the core things you need to succeed at running a hyper-growth company. The culture is meant for everyone including the customers but most important are the employees and the internal energy. When we put our employees first and they in turn take care of the customers, it always works.

Here are a few things we really stress:

Hiring: The best trick for enhancing culture starts with the hiring process, we’ve become very good at finding the culture fits.

Peer-to-peer recognition (money!) and mentoring: Our workspace is very open and almost always executives are on the floor (I’m writing this from an open cubicle myself). We stress peer-to-peer recognition and allow employees to give each other $50 bonuses when they see fit, paid by the company. Everyone gets a mentor for the first 6 months and then they go into an executive forum that focuses on anything the employee’s desires including personal growth outside of work. We discuss core values and our forward vision weekly and the team knows where we are headed.

Click here to continue reading this article from Forbes

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My Franchise Is Like My Second Child – Entrepreneur

As the youngest franchise owner in the BlueGrace Logistics franchise system, Dusty King says his job is similar to raising his three year old daughter. Why? He loves and invests time in both, and believes that both will grow into “honest contributors to society.” Here’s what King has learned as a franchisee and father.

Name: Dusty King

Franchise owned: BlueGrace Logistics in Atlanta, Ga.

How long have you owned a franchise? 2 1/2 years

Why franchising?

Having the proven system in place is invaluable. Not having to start from scratch is a huge step forward in creating a business. You’re able to take a proven business model and add your personal efforts toward achieving your goals. This allowed me to focus solely on obtaining new business and not so much on creating back end systems that businesses need to run on a day to day basis.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

I was an operations manager for a partner franchise in the BlueGrace system.

To continue reading this article in Entrepreneur, click here 

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Franchise of the Month – December

BGTim&Becky

 

BlueGrace Williamsburg, led by franchise owners Tim Salavejus and Becky Puterbaugh Salavejus is December 2014 Franchise of the Month. Tim and Becky have been with the BlueGrace network since 2011. This year they have focused on hiring more sales and customer service representatives to help grow their business, along with a sales manager to over see the sales team. In the recent months they have been rapidly growing and focusing on customers that help improve their bottom line.

“We are so happy about where our success has led us this year. We could not be more excited about closing out the year and being honored with the Franchise of the Month award” – says Tim and Becky Salavejus, owners of BlueGrace Williamsburg

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My #BGExperience with Erik Tedesco // Account Executive

Erik Tedesco // National Sales Account Executive

Erik Tedesco // Account Executive

In January I will have been with BG for 3 years. So far it has been an awesome and crazy ride. I couldn’t be happier  to be a part of such an amazing group of people all contributing to the rapid growth, innovative changes, and incredible culture.

I was fresh out of college and new to Florida in 2012, and couldn’t have been more fortunate and lucky to get a chance with BlueGrace. After a few months as a NSR a new role was developed. My-self and Christin Pylant were the guinea pigs the “Recovery/Retention for Team.” There was a lot of unknown going into this new position, but even in 2012 one thing remained the same “Trust the Process.” Although it was a little different to be working directly with previously unhappy customers it proved to be successful. This was truly embracing chaos as we were contacting customers who had pretty messy situations which lead them to stop working with BlueGrace. That type of experience was invaluable. Having success in that position opened the door for me to be a part of the first, and newly created POD/Team 360 Blue. Being lucky enough to be a part of this has been critical to my growth here. We are an ever changing department and I am looking forward to see what the future holds for us. In the midst of all the change and hyper growth the one thing that has made it so easy to wake up every morning and be excited is the culture. The people here define the culture and without the group that we have it wouldn’t be possible. From Boo Grace, dunk tanks, cats vs dogs (which lead me to now own a little Cami), FSU celebration days, and all the other themes it has been incredibly fun to be a part of. The culture doesn’t just stop within the office. In July I was able to attend The Double Up Franchise Confer-ence in Las Vegas. I don’t think other companies don’t offer trips to Vegas. The knowledge, info, and tools for success I learned there will surely help me grow and sharpen my skills at BlueGrace. The people I had a chance to meet were even bet-ter. From everyone in the office in Tampa to all the franchise own-ers BlueGrace only deals with great people. All that being said I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity I was given about 3 years ago. I moved to Florida knowing no one, and now I have a 175+ person Florida family. It has been a hell of a ride, and I can’t wait to embrace the future chaos!

Get to know your BG Family. Want to submit your #BGexperience? Send it with a high resolution picture to marketing@mybluegrace. com; Subject Line: My #BGExperience

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Holiday Shipping: Feedback From BG Experts

Everyone should be preparing for weather conditions, delays and other instances during the holidays that make it a stressful time for customers. We asked a few BlueGrace experts to chime in and provide valuable insight on the subject:

Mike Zaruba // International Support Lead

Mike Zaruba // International Support Lead

Mike Zaruba // International Support Lead

Holidays are always difficult to work around in our industry.  We lose valuable transit days with shipments when carriers aren’t moving freight.   Add to that, the fact that the winter holidays are occurring during the time of year where the weather is already affecting a large portion of the country.  So there are multiple obstacles to overcome this time of year.  The holidays also bring customers that ship primarily for this season.  They are shipping products specifically geared towards the holidays, so their shipment counts increase exponentially.  The closer it gets to the actual holidays themselves, the more urgent a customer’s needs become to ship the product out so it leaves their location in enough time to get to the destination with the missing transit days accounted for. This is when we get have to embrace chaos and set ourselves apart from everyone else.  Times like these are when our customers need us most.  When faced with this adversity and these challenges, that doesn’t give us an excuse to fail.  It gives us an opportunity to show our character and our value and stand above the rest.

 

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If it did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Charlotte Bronte

 

Juan Flores // Customer Loyalty Representative

Juan Flores // Customer Loyalty Representative

Juan Flores // Customer Loyalty Representative

During the holiday season the freight world gets unpredictable. Just like any lotto, we try to guess what might take place or the winning combination; but in the end we really don’t know what will take place. In a lot of fields out there the holiday season is a whine down time. For freight world it gets chaotic, everyone is trying to clear docs, empty warehouses, and get their books in order. During this crazy time a great thing that I have learned and done was to take a deep breath and relax. We as humans have a tendency to fight back or do things that might hurt others when pushed into a corner. To prevent that, take the time to breathe, move from that corner, and reset your brain. Not only will you have that “WOOSAAA” moment and feel better, you will think clearer and make better choices, which will benefit our customers and you will make fewer mistakes. Hey! It’s only the holidays, embrace the chaos.

 

 

“CHAOS, My favorite place to vacation in. I take days off just to embrace its glory.”- Juan Flores

 

Brant Wensloff // Enterprise Sales Manager

Brant Wensloff // Enterprise Sales Manager

Brant Wensloff // Enterprise Sales Manager

Holiday season presents challenges with everything from employees being absent to limited carrier schedules. BG employees must certainly embrace the chaos during the holidays and prepare their customers for proper shipping expectations.  Carriers are experiencing increasing volumes of shipments and must also deal with driver shortages.  Combine that with holidays that are non-shipping days (for LTL carriers), shippers are faced with potentially longer transit times. Don’t forget the looming polar vortex that may create winter snowstorms that will shut down shipping lanes! It’s important for all BG employees to prepare their customers and set these expectations prior to the holiday season. Ensuring that customers understand that there are longer shipping times during the holidays and to plan accordingly. Recommending better equipped Tier 1 carriers that have more resources will provide better service results. The BG team should also be prepared to face our own internal chaos and embrace the fact their colleagues will be out for extended periods of time, using their vacation days to spend with family. Be ready to double up on your duties and cover for your fellow teammate. They’ll be sure to return the favor when you take your vacation days!

 

“Things are not moving fast enough, growing and improving without the right amount of chaos applied. Organized chaos is exciting and keeps work from becoming dull!” – Brant Wensloff

 

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7.7 – The Road To Victory

The_Road_To_7.7-01

Check out what employees have to say about BlueGrace’s biggest contest of the year!

Tim Lara // ENTERPRISE TRUCKLOAD COORDINATOR //

Tim Lara // Enterprise Truckload Coordinator

 

 

TIM LARA // ENTERPRISE TRUCKLOAD COORDINATOR

“At first it’s about the money, you see that $1000 and start thinking of the ways you could spend it. Once crunch time hits it starts becoming more and more about everyone else, more and more about the company and how you want to do every-thing you can to see Bobby come out and hit that gong!” – Tim Lara

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tammy Valenzuela // Senior Manager, National Sales

TAMMY VALENZUELA // SENIOR MANAGER, NATIONAL SALES

Don’t forget your value adds! Let our customers know that we don’t just want their shipment, we want their business. It’s easy to secure a shipment with promoting the lowest cost carrier, but we have so much more to offer. Secure long term business relationships with your customers by educating them on BG’s value adds. From BlueShip to live tracking, to 3rd party insurance and much more you’ll secure more business and get us closer to the $7.7 goal!

 

 

 

 

 

RYAN MCGUINNESS // FRANCHISE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Ryan McGuiness // Franchise Development Manager

Ryan McGuiness // Franchise Development Manager

Last year’s 7.5 contest was, without question, one of my favorite memories here at BlueGrace. It was a special time seeing so many people and departments come together for a common goal. There was a buzz and feel in the office that was unmatched. As you all may know, we are behind in this year’s goal of 7.7. At this point not only are we behind, but does anyone even care? Let’s change that!
Here at some tips to try to replicate or BEAT what we accomplished last year:

  • Get social! Talk about the contest on Twitter and Facebook. Engage and challenge your teammates and other departments. Talking about the contest helps create that buzz.
  • Do you know what it takes? Do you know the numbers we need to hit? Print them out and display them on your desk, by your monitor, or wherever you will see it multiple times per day. Just don’t use tape (you’re welcome Mike).

Do one just more thing than usual. Ask for that extra shipment, ask to help out, ask for an upcharge, and just ask! Doing just one more thing per customer interaction or around the office goes a long way and the right people notice. Last year’s 7.5 contest paved the way for so many people that you now see as leaders at BlueGrace. That could be you.
Since last year our office has grown so much and so has the level of talent I see every day. BlueGrace has a history of laughing in the face of ridiculous goals and just getting things done. Embrace the chaos, pur-sue this outrageous goal, be passionate, and most importantly be happy and have fun along the way!

 

 

Kari Bolin // TL Account Executive

Kari Bolin // TL Account Executive

KARI BOLLIN //TL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

I think it is important to reach company goals because it shows that we are all in this together.  We all may have dif-ferent roles and responsibilities but in the end we all are here or should be here to be successful and want to be part of something bigger than what we can accomplish by ourselves.  Reaching this company goal will embrace all 8 of our Core Values and I am excited to see how everyone shines!

 

 

 

 

Dave Inzerillo // Director Enterprise Development

Dave Inzerillo // Director Enterprise Development

DAVE INZERILLO  // DIRECTOR ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

A good way to make sure we  all hit our overall goal is to  make sure you set small goals along the way that are in line with the overall goal. Know what you have to do daily and be able to make adjustments to those goals as things can change. Make sure you utilize all the resources you have including your colleges. We can achieve more when we work together, and most of all, Work hard. Don’t leave anything on the table.

 

 

 

 

 

Ragan Green // Carrier & Enterprise Solutions Coordinator

Ragan Green // Carrier & Enterprise Solutions Coordinator

 

RAGAN GREEN // CARRIER & ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS COORDINATOR

What motivates me is positive collaborative effort: unique skill sets communicat-ing and pushing in the same direction- such as our 7.7 goal. The Monday morning meetings are such a great way to set intention and bring focus. It may be aRagan Green // Carrier & Enterprise Solutions Coordinator

good idea to have teams briefly meet half way thru the week to bring attention back to the goal by “shouting out” any steps made towards it. Listening to each other’s input and positive collaboration is where it’s at.

 

 

 

STACEY ROSE // ENTERPRISE ARCHITECT

Stacey Rose // Enterprise Architect

When I was asked to share my thoughts for a 7.7 column, I was given several topics to choose from including the importance of goals, motivating others, and the excitement surrounding the contest itself.  As I thought about each topic and what I wanted to write about, I realized every topic was related to the next and my mind kept going back to our eight Core Values.  It’s all right there. Ok, Stacy, what the hell do the Core Values have to do with Lao-Tzu’s quote about leadership and the 7.7 contest you ask?  To me, our eight Core Values can be simplified into one statement: “Be a Leader”.  One does not have to be given a “leadership” title to be a leader, nor does one have to explicitly be given the responsibility of leading others to be a leader.  We all can be a leader in many aspects of our lives inside and outside of the company walls if we approach it with the right tools and more importantly the right attitude. If we all embrace the empowerment we have been allowed to be leaders in our daily work lives, we can-not help but be successful.  We’ve already proven it.  The Core Values are the tools — the “how”.  Striving for goals, motivating yourself and others, contest excitement, positivity — they all tie back to the Core Values.  It’s all right there.

 

 

Joe Cubero // National Sales Manager

Joe Cubero // National Sales Manager

JOE CUBERO // NATIONAL SALES MANAGER

It is VERY important to me to reach 7.7 simply being that I am competitive by na-ture and I love a challenge. This is a pretty lofty goal that has been set, but that’s what BlueGrace is all about. Whenever a goal of this magnitude is set it makes everyone in the company to take everything to the next level. Being that Culture is huge part of BG, there is a vibe in the air to WANT to succeed. 50% of hitting this goal is Attitude. Once we believe as a company we can achieve it, all that’s left to do is go and make it happen.

 

 

Melissa Bauknight // Corporate Recruiter

Melissa Bauknight // Corporate Recruiter

MELISSA BAUKNIGHT // CORPORATE RECRUITER

I started at BlueGrace 2 weeks before we reached 7.5 last year. Though I knew nothing about the contest, I knew about to experience something groundbreaking. You could feel the excitement all over the floor in EVERY department. It was an aggressive goal last year and it’s an aggressive goal this year. Only now, we have more employees to help us get there. Focus and dedication is the key. Let’s keep the momentum and hype up. #SevenPointSeven!

 

 

 

#SEVENPOINTSEVEN – SHARE THE EXPERIENCE.

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Restaurant Reviews: #BGEats

Cappy's Pizza Restaurant Review at BlueGrace Logistics

Cappy’s (www.cappyspizzaonline.com)

6260 Winthrop Market Street, Riverview, FL 33578

(813) 662.4811

Rated: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆ By: Jill Cox, Credit & Billing Manager
Cappy’s is the best pizza on the planet by far and that is NO JOKE. We go to the Bran-don location in the Winthrop Town Center which is super cozy and the staff is excellent. They have a small menu including a NY style (gooey and thin – my favorite) and a Chicago style pizza. They only use fresh ingredients so you can convince yourself you still have a cheat day after Cappy’s. It’s not even normal how good the pizza is! If you don’t believe me ask Rick Mendoza! They also have locations in St. Pete, South Tampa and New Tampa so you have no excuse, BG Headquarters, not to check it out. Most locations are only open for dinner. Don’t miss this!

 

The Stein & Vine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stein & Vine (www.thesteinandvine.com)

827 W. Bloomingdale Avenue, Brandon, FL 33511

(813) 655.4786

Rated:⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆ By: Randy Williard, Carrier Sales Rep
Great small time restaurant/bar. They have a small menu but their burgers are great. They have a unique menu; not just your typical burger and fries. Make sure you go and try the pork wings – you won’t regret it.

 

The Refinery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Refinery (www.thetamparefinery.com)

5137 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL 33603

(813) 237.2000

Rated: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆  By: Justina Lopez, TL Customer Account Rep.

The Refinery is one my favorite places to get brunch! It lies in a 2-story house with wooden floors, an open kitchen, and drinks served out of mason jars which gives it a southern rustic feel. Reservations are required for indoor seating, however walk-ins are welcome on the outside patio (2nd level) which provide a nice, intimate dining experi-ence.  They have a decent selection of wine and craft beers. Their menu changes weekly depending on the availability of fresh produce from the local market. The servers are friendly and will educate you on their selection of organic, gluten free, or vegan eating. You almost feel at home.

 

Want to submit your restaurant review? Send them to marketing.and we might include your submission on the next BluePrint!

 

 

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Q&A with Becky Puterbaugh, Franchise Owner of BlueGrace Williamsburg

This month our featured franchise Q&A is with Becky Puterbaugh, Franchise Owner of BlueGrace Williamsburg.

Becky Puterbaugh Salavejus, Franchise Owner of BlueGrace Williamsburg.

Becky Puterbaugh Salavejus, Franchise Owner of BlueGrace Williamsburg

 Q: How you have helped other women?
We are an equal opportunity employer with 50% of our team members being women. We rec-ognize the value and special skills strong women bring to our fran-chise. Work-Life balance is a key pillar to the culture of our fran-chise. Since several of our team members are single mothers flex time has been a valued benefit. This allows them to take care of their families when needed and keeps them focused on our clients and tasks when in the office.

Q: What are some challenges you have faced as a business owner?
The biggest challenge has been implementing companywide systems and processes and build-ing a winning culture. Since the Double Up conference we have amerced ourselves in the Daly principles by developing key people for key spots and holding them accountable through indi-vidual goals. Another challenge has been managing our growth. Since the beginning, we have reinvested our time and finance back into the company. This re-invest has attributed to the suc-cess of our franchise.

Q: What do you do to keep yourself motivated at the office?
Running a business is very stress-ful and overwhelming. Fortunate-ly, I am able to retreat to my farm and recharge my batteries. There is just something about feeding a baby calf his bottle or watching a flock of turkeys grazing in the field that gives me peace. If I am stressed then I know my employ-ees can be stressed as well. In an effort to relieve stress and build a family atmosphere we plan events that allows us to unwind together. This year we scheduled company outings at a local baseball and amusement parks.

Q: What you like best about owning your business?
The best thing about owning my own business is the flexibility in time. As most business owners will say, they work 24/7 and that is true… we are always on the clock! Fortunately my husband and I share in many of the respon-sibilities and can give each other the time that is required outside of the business. With two teenagers at home and a farm to run, it is essential to spread out our time.

Q: How you have been successful this far and your goal for your second franchise location?
Success has come with persistence, encouragement and playing an active role in the business. Both Tim and I work directly with our employees, not separated by walls or a door. We re-invest into the company and realize our greatest commodity is our people. Having a second franchise location will open more doors for opportunity and new customers to serve. Our goal is to double our revenue and staff.

Q: Do you encourage more women to become business owners?
As a business owner myself, I encourage any woman who is thinking about becoming a business owner. If she has the passion and resources, it can be very fulfilling and empowering.

 

Becky Puterbaugh Salavejus is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in Richmond, Virginia. This year, she was listed as an Altria Rising Star Finalist.

 

Contact BlueGrace Williamsburg

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
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