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Sarasota Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 2 months ago

Partners in everything: Stan and Natalie Kinnett operate metal business together

Stan and Natalie Kinnett have been married for more than 40 years and have their own business together.
by: Harry Sayer Staff Writer

Stan and Natalie Kinnett have been a team for more than 40 years. 

The married couple met young, fell in love and married after six months. That love has taken them all across the country, and even the world.

Throughout that time, they’ve assumed different roles together in running a family. Stan Kinnett has been the primary breadwinner, while Natalie served as the matriarch. More than anything, the duo have learned how to rely on one another.

Now, they’ve entered a new, more close chapter in their lives as of late — the pair work together as owners of a Metal Supermarkets franchise in Sarasota. The pair started the business together in 2018, but have had new hurdles to overcome with the pandemic. 

Stan Kinnett , 64, and Natalie Kinnett, 59, met in Morgantown, Ind. Stan and Natalie’s families knew each other well from school, church and social circles and the two groups often intermixed.  

But it was hardly love at first sight — Natalie remembers being more annoyed than enamored with her family friend in the beginning. She often visited her grandmother in Morgantown and in the beginning thought Stan Kinnett and his family were distant relatives. 

“I remember when I was 12 telling my grandmother how mean Stan and his brother were to me,” Natalie said. “I said ‘I can’t believe I’m related to those boys’ and she said ‘Oh you’re not related’ … teasing takes on a different perspective when you’re not related.”

Later on one summer in high school while visiting her grandma, Natalie Kinnett decided to spend time with Stan Kinnett , frankly, out of sheer boredom. They attended a church meeting and followed it up by getting root beers together. They spent the next day together, and then the day after that — at that point, Natalie realized it felt more natural and right than she’d anticipated. 

They went steady, and just six months later were married. They connected over their Christian faith, and they shared history together and with each other’s families.

“Six months doesn’t sound like very long but we’d known each other forever,” Natalie said. “... It was a trust thing. I’d known Stan enough that I knew I could trust him.”

Stan and Natalie Kinnett  shared a desire for the classic American dream of a steady job, happy housewife, several children, and a good home. 

They achieved most of those goals, but for a while never had a home in one place for long. Stan worked for a corporation that required travel, and he and Natalie moved with their children 15 times in their 43 years of marriage. 

The pair moved to Thailand for a couple years, and then India. Natalie was used to running the household but felt culture shock when arriving in India. Fortunately, Stan had the good idea to pay for her sister to fly over and stay with Natalie for a month to get more settled, and his wife soon came to love the country. She even came to adopt a child there as well.

Through all of their travels and challenges, the couple feels that one of the things they did right to make it through was to always sit down together for dinner, no matter what. 

“We just felt so strongly that that was important that we all got that face to face time at the end of the day,” Natalie said.
They returned to America a handful of years later and felt a second wave of culture shock — Natalie jokes it’s odd to have almost completely missed the Seinfeld years — but they became reacquainted with the world. They moved to Florida, where Stan became the CEO of a steel fabrication company while Natalie continued to manage their home. Eventually, though, the last of their children left the nest and Stan and Natalie felt ready for something new.

 “After 40 years of raising kids, (my feelings were) don't let the door hit you on your way out and have a great life,” Natalie said. “I was really ready to have that extra time with Stan and to be more involved in his business.”

Stan Kinnett sold his company and the duo spent a few months thinking about their next step. They settled on something familiar, but exciting — opening a Metal Supermarket franchise and selling custom cut metals to Sarasota residents. Where Stan and Natalie Kinnett had a steady routine for working apart, and being a family together, they now work out of the same office at their location in Sarasota.

It’s been a different rhythm and pace than they’re used to, but that’s not been a bad thing at all. While Stan Kinnett talks with clients, supervises employees and manages the warehouse, Natalie Kinnett handles the business of the enterprise. Stan Kinnett says he’s enjoyed depending on his wife in a new, different way.

“I pay all the bills at home, it’s just the way we've always done it,” Stan Kinnett said. “But she takes care of all the purchase orders and writing checks, keeping the paperwork straight here so I can  spend more time out at the warehouse ... She's also a very good salesperson.”

Unlike many, the Kinnett’s had a steady and profitable 2020, something for which they're  grateful. One of the secrets to their success is being able to separate home and work. 

 “Every family has issues and every business has issues,” Stan Kinnett said. “… If you focus on serving your spouse and both of you do that, it's pretty hard for it to get too cumbersome. That doesn't mean there aren't rough spots. but if you focus on meeting the needs of your spouse and yourself, that takes care of the problem.”

Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 

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