Construction business wins national contest
by Matt Shinall
Apr 01, 2012 | 2989 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Financial expert Jean Chatzky, left, consulted with Shayne and Susie Ray, owners of All Around Roofing, Gutters and Construction, as a prize in the Office Depot Business Makeover which included new office furniture, organization equipment and office supplies.
MATT SHINALL/The Daily Tribune News
Financial expert Jean Chatzky, left, consulted with Shayne and Susie Ray, owners of All Around Roofing, Gutters and Construction, as a prize in the Office Depot Business Makeover which included new office furniture, organization equipment and office supplies. MATT SHINALL/The Daily Tribune News
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All Around Roofing, Gutters and Construction was chosen as one of three finalists in a national competition entitling their company to a business makeover.

Sponsored by Office Depot, the contest netted the local company a new suite of office furniture, supplies and a chance to speak with a nationally acclaimed financial advisor.

"All Around Gutters is going to be receiving a bunch of Realspace organization furniture from Office Depot. They're also going to be getting a whole bunch of organization products and office supplies in addition to a one-on-one financial coaching session with Jean Chatzky who is a financial expert," said an Office Depot representative.

Shayne and Susie Ray, owners of the All Around Roofing, Gutters and Construction received their prizes Friday afternoon at their 125 Gentilly Blvd. office.

"It means a lot to us being a small company like we are. It's hard for us to go out and purchase some of the things we need to help our business out. Receiving something like this means a lot to us," Shayne Ray said.

The office furniture came at a good time, said Shayne Ray, their desk was on its last leg and a new laptop will aid Susie Ray in day-to-day operations.

"I think it'll help tremendously, the laptop and just the extra room I have and the storage area will just make it easier to organize. Hopefully, business will just get really busy and I'll be able to keep up with the paperwork and the day-to-day work better. And it does look a lot more professional when customers come in," Susie Ray said.

Although the furniture was a boon for All Around Roofing's office, Shayne Ray found greater value in the conversation with Chatzky, financial journalist, author of several books and financial editor of the NBC Today Show.

"Winning the free office stuff is wonderful and you don't know how much we appreciate it, but getting to talk to a financial advisor or a financial expert like that is something we would never get to do being in a small business. So, for me, I don't know if you can put a value on something like that," Shayne Ray said.

During the financial coaching session, he specifically looked to address an issue facing many small businesses today -- how to maintain a profit when sales are down and costs are up.

"Our No.1 question would be, if we make money, how to hold on to it. Especially with fuel prices at almost $4 a gallon and material prices going up everyday. That's our biggest thing is how to hold onto our money," Shayne Ray said.

Chatzky praised the Rays for their money management and smart growth. All Around Roofing, Gutters and Construction began out of their home in 1995 and has since moved twice to their current location.

"These guys have been very smart, they have managed to stay debt free and to find new sources of revenue during a very, very difficult period," Chatzky said. "We talked about the challenges of this business coming out of the recession. With more and more cost cutting going on, how do you find and maintain an edge in an environment like that."

Speaking to those businesses linked to the construction industry, Chatzky noted the severity with which the recession affected companies such as All Around Roofing. She also gave the Rays hope for continued recovery as consumer spending increases.

"This company is in an industry that has probably been the hardest hit by the recession and even though the recession technically ended a while ago, we've certainly come out of it more slowly than we've, I think, ever come out of a recession before," Chatzky said. "It's feeling like consumers aren't spending freely on the big things. We're seeing that return with car sales but when it comes to really investing in their homes that hasn't really happened much yet. People are doing what they need to do, they're not doing what they want to do and that makes it difficult for any company."