Dennis “Denny” Sponsel, president of RJE Business Interiors, bought his company in March 2000. Then the contract furniture industry suffered its largest downturn ever, a 42 percent drop.
While many would see doom, Sponsel saw opportunity. He has a strong vision of a special kind of business one that truly cares for customers, earns their trust, operates ethically and gives back to the community. Now, eight years later, revenue has more than tripled.
Sponsel took on his new venture with RJE as a sole owner, but he wasn’t alone. He brought in an experienced management team, but he hefted the very weighty financial burden on his own shoulders. Even in the midst of a struggling economy, he continued to invest in people, places and technology. He opened a new downtown facility, upgraded technology and added key personnel to focus on the company strategy.
He convinced ever-skeptical furniture vendors and customers to work with him and trust him by living up to each commitment that he and RJE made.
“I believe leadership stands tall,” Sponsel says. “My behavior, my example, my communications, my support, my loyalty, my fairness, the way I dress every day it all counts.”
On RJE’s Web site, all inquiries go directly to Sponsel, and he responds to each one.
“It is that personal touch and that personal commitment that mean everything,” Sponsel says.
It’s this kind of service and commitment that transformed a failing business into a community leader.
HOW TO REACH: RJE Business Interiors, www.rjefurn.com