Interview With Kitchen Tune-Up Tunies - Russ & Pat Widmer
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 is with a Tunie couple, Russ and Pat Widmer in Myrtle Beach, SC. They have been with Kitchen Tune-Up for 13 years with no signs of slowing down.
Q. I believe you lived in Minnesota when you bought your franchise, were you planning to set up shop in South Carolina?
A. Our youngest child had just graduated from college and we wanted to move either to Tennessee or South Carolina . . . I like the mountains or Pat likes the beaches. Guess who won? We came across a lengthy article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Kitchen Tune-Up, so we made the trip to Aberdeen, SD, and were impressed with the non-flashiness of the whole operation. We bought a territory around Myrtle Beach, SC, and here we are. At first, we moved all our belongings into an apartment; then went back to Aberdeen for Training School, picked up our dog, and said goodbye to snow forever.
Q. Besides a modest mothership, what else attracted you to Kitchen Tune-Up?
A. Well first we liked the low cost of getting in, and then we felt this was something we could do together. Pat was a real estate agent and I worked in construction, and Kitchen Tune-Up really appealed to us.
Q. How do you “divvy up” the responsibilities?
A. I do the bidding and project managing. Pat handles the phones and the book work. She claims she’s semi-retired. She emphasizes the retired part and I keep bringing up the “semi” part.
Q. Do you have a favorite “Ah-Ha” moment?
A. Funny you should ask. Soon after we moved down here, I was working on the 14th floor of an ocean side condo unit. The sun was shining, the waves were crashing and the pelicans were flying around. I just stopped for a minute and thought, “How did a simple kid from Minnesota end up here?”
Q. We’re coming to your neck of the woods for our next National Reunion in February. Is your house big enough for all of us? Do we need to bring our sleeping bags?
A. Only if you like to sleep standing up!
Q. What would we be most surprised to learn about you and Pat?
A. We have 5 children and 11 grandchildren. Our daughter, Jennifer and her husband Jesse Swanson have a KTU franchise near us in Charleston, and our four sons live back in Minnesota.