VOL. 128 | NO. 141 | Monday, July 22, 2013
SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
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ServiceMaster by Stratos' Philosophy Spurs Growth
By Amos Maki
Stacy McCall began working at the contract janitorial business that was then called ServiceMaster Building Maintenance in 1988.
For the most part, her time was consumed focusing on consummating transactions and managing risks for the company, which was started in 1979 by her father-in-law Randy McCall.
That all changed when she acquired the majority ownership of the company, now called ServiceMaster by Stratos, in 2009 and became the head of an enterprise with 200 employees across the Mid-South.
“When I took over the reins and became majority owner I had always been that silent executor in the background and that ownership shift created an opportunity, and also a burden, for being the visionary for the company and trying to motivate and inspire our employees,” said McCall, president and CEO of the company.
Stacy McCall is president and CEO of the contract janitorial company ServiceMaster by Stratos, which was started in 1979 by her father-in-law, Randy McCall, and is located at 66 N. Main St.
(Daily News/Lance Murphey)
Two of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – any business can face are name and location changes. McCall tackled both soon after taking over.
McCall said she was deliberate about the renaming of her company and that she chose a name she thought would clearly communicate the company’s mission and spark interest from potential clients.
“We always wanted to go above and beyond in our service to our service partners and clients, so we started saying, ‘We’re going to shoot for the stratosphere,’” McCall said. “It enabled us to tell a story.”
McCall said it was as important to tell that story to employees as it was to express it to current, or potential, clients.
“It was very intentional because it helped communicate the vision and culture we were developing,” she said. “It allowed me the ability to bring that vision throughout our entire organization. Repeating your vision, and their part in that vision, you can never communicate that enough.”
In November 2010, McCall moved ServiceMaster by Stratos from a site on Summer Avenue near White Station Road to 7,400 square feet of ground-floor commercial space in Downtown’s historic Lowenstein Building at 66 N. Main St., part of the Court Square Center development at Main and Jefferson Avenue. McCall said she turned initial trepidation about the location into a way to expose clients and potential clients to the company’s philosophy.
“Our first concern was how people were going to find us Downtown, but it created an invitation rather than a barrier,” McCall said. “Before, we were always going to our customer’s location, going in to their environment. It gives us the opportunity to bring our customers or prospects to us and really expose them to our culture. It creates an invitation.”
McCall said communication with employees – driving home the company’s philosophy to employees while incorporating their concerns and ideas – has been a key component of attracting and keeping top-notch workers.
“They can affect change and make a difference and that’s very important for any of us, to feel fulfilled in what we do, because if you feel like you don’t have a voice, or that you’re not being heard, then it is just a job,” she said.
McCall said recognizing and acting on emerging trends will help businesses grow. At ServiceMaster by Stratos, that meant embracing early on the shift to more environmentally friendly cleaning substances, even shifting customers to green cleaning before they requested it.
“It’s almost a point of entry now,” McCall said. “Those companies putting out (requests for proposals), especially if they have a national presence, they are demanding it.
“We just converted all our customers whether they knew it or not. We converted them and said, ‘Now you have a healthy environment.’”
McCall also believes in community involvement. She displays works from students at Memphis College of Art’s South Main Street graduate school, maintains the Downtown dog park at Main and Jefferson for the Downtown Memphis Commission and provides free cleaning services to events and organizations, such as the Memphis Blues Ball.
“We may not have the financial wherewithal to give out a lot of money but we can provide our service,” she said.
McCall said providing service donations helps expose employees to the wide array of events and groups in Memphis while showing other like-minded companies that they share similar values.
“There are businesses out there that have the same culture as we do and it makes a tremendous difference in overall the relationship,” McCall said.