LLSA Chamber Small Business of the Year Awards: Cornerstone Solutions Group

 
 

Pam Lutz’s secret to success: Get to know your customers.

As business/marketing director at the Bradenton office of Cornerstone Solutions Group, Lutz knows that her clients need landscaping and maintenance services. Even in a slow economy, they count on these services, because they help maintain property values. But for Lutz, that’s not enough.

“It’s not just a job,” Lutz said. “It’s really important to us that people feel valued.”

Cornerstone’s focus on personal relationships is, in part, what drew Lutz to the company. In October 2008, she gave up her job as executive assistant with the West Florida Chapter of the Community Associations Institute to care for her grandchildren after her son-in-law became ill. When she resigned, Lutz sent out an e-mail to the companies she had worked with, letting them know about the situation. Cornerstone employees stayed in contact with her. Fortunately, Lutz’s son-in-law recovered quickly. In December 2008, she was hired by Cornerstone, which had opened its Bradenton office earlier that year.

For Lutz, the biggest challenge of the job has been building local name recognition for the company.
Cornerstone has offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach, but the Bradenton office is the newest.

But so far, the company has succeeded in building its reputation, in part because of that emphasis on personal relationships. In just two years, the branch has grown from just seven full-time employees and one part-time employee to a staff of more than 35. Business has increased by 100% in the past two years. And Lutz sees success for the company in the coming year.

“I see business continuing to grow and possibly even doubling in the next year,” she says.

BUSINESS BASICS

Location:
2712 63rd Ave. E., Bradenton

Start date: Early 2008

Number of employees when started: Seven full-time, one part-time

Number of employees today: More than 35

Advice: Getting to know your customers and your base is very important.

Biggest challenge: Getting Cornerstone’s name out as a newcomer to the area.

Where do you see your business one year from now?
Continuing to grow and possibly even doubling within the next year.

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