Success Story for:

Pace Robinson of Modern Supply

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Modern Supply is a kitchen, bath, lighting supplier as well as plumbing, electrical, and Rheem Heating & Air distributor serving both retail consumers and wholesale building contractors. The family-owned business operates showroom galleries in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Johnson City.

Established in 1949 by Mitchell Robinson, Mitchell’s son Pace Robinson now serves as CEO and veteran employee Dottie Ramsey serves as President/COO. Together Pace and Dottie have grown the business to six locations.

In 2008 the economic downturn caused the industry to plummet and business at Modern Supply declined. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson endured a series of painful business decisions resulting in a significant workforce reduction and the closure of two locations.
Modern Supply persevered and by 2010 the company again experienced financial stability. However, downturn adjustments surfaced in 2013 when the company’s long-term revolving line of credit was called due. Drained after raising capital from every resource possible, Modern Supply again faced serious financial challenges. Employees sensed the tension and morale was low. Mr. Robinson called the TSBDC at Pellissippi State Technical Community College in July, 2013.

TSBDC staff used the financial analysis suite ProfitCents® to assess the company’s financial health and applied the GrowthWheel® model to facilitate a number of employee sessions. Data gathered was analyzed and TSBDC staff convened with leadership to define action plans. Modern Supply staff attended TSBDC marketing training and the Reference USA® database tool provided essential information about competition and target markets. Credit was secured through a community lender and key employees were selected to form a strategic management team.

Working together with a fresh perspective and new tools for success, the stakeholder team ushers in changes toward a prosperous future. For 2014, Modern Supply contributed $2.7 million and 12 new jobs in economic impact.

Modern Supply exemplifies determination and courage in successfully adapting to overcome small business hardships.

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