Interview with Kitchen Tune-Up “Tunies” – Russ & Pam Rysavy
Marty Ceranec, long-time Kitchen Tune-Up franchise owner kindly contributes to our national newsletter and our blog. He calls these an “Interview with a Tunie, By a Tunie.”
This interview features Russ & Pam Rysavy:
To the foothills of South Dakota, we visit Russ and Pam Rysavy of Rapid City. This husband and wife team of nine years has consistently grown their business every year, slow and steady (sounds like the philosophy of a certain tortoise).
Q. How and why did you join our system?
A: I (Russ) was always in the general construction business as a home remodeler and Pam has a finance and CPA degree. I realized I was just small cheese compared to other home remodelers. Through a builder magazine, I became aware of franchise systems, and after looking into several, we chose Kitchen Tune-Up. Pam, by the way, grew up in Aberdeen, SD where the Home Office is based. How convenient!
Q. What do you like best about being a Tunie?
A. We love the entire system both at the mothership in Aberdeen and all our fellow owners. I have received nothing but positive encouragement, and when I’ve hit a speed bump, and it is nice to talk to fellow owners and know they go through the same things.
Q. How do you and Pam “divvy” up your responsibilities?
A. Pam is the wizard behind the curtain. She does all the financials, projections, marketing, payroll (we have over 8 employees) and gives me my weekly allowance. I do all the bids, ordering, and project managing. We also have two employees who staff our storefront.
Q. Speaking of storefront, did you have one from the beginning?
A. As soon as we joined Kitchen Tune-Up, we opened a small design studio of about 300 square feet, but quickly outgrew it. We moved to a storefront with regular hours and eventually to a showroom/warehouse with over 3,500 square feet and have been there for the last several years.
Q. How important is the showroom to your business?
A. About 50% of our leads come from store walk-ins. We do a lot of new custom kitchens, and having a showroom with things to touch and feel is paramount to our success. We’ve become kind of branded in Rapid City as the place for kitchen remodeling. We also do some local paper advertisements; run TV ads and keep a profile on Facebook.
Q. Any advice for new Tunies?
A. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Realize that all owners have walked in Baby Tunie shoes at the beginning. You’ll find those long-time owners like nothing more than to help you out.
Q. What was your favorite Reunion?
A. We always say it was the last one because each one gets better and better.
Q. Are your daughters involved in the business?
A. Our older daughter (age 16) is our in-house gopher and the younger daughter (age 9) bakes cookies to keep our showroom smelling yummy!
Q. We know the Black Hills has a big motorcycle rally each year. Are you and Pam bikers?
A. No! No! we stay off those two-wheelers. Pam and I used to cruise around our Polaris Razers both in town and off the road. It is a lot safer on four-wheelers.