That is a major reason why being part of the family business, Hadinger Flooring in Naples, is ideal for someone who shies away from the hum-drum and routine.
“It is a great business,” said Ms. Hadinger. “It really is a vibrant and very fashion-oriented industry with the design aspect. It’s constantly changing, it’s constantly fun. I enjoy working with everybody and I enjoy the different everyday challenges. There’s always something new on the horizon.”
Hardwood, laminate, tile, natural stone and vinyl flooring, along with an array of carpeting, area rugs and cabinetry can be perused at the store that advertises as the state’s largest with 30,000 square feet of showroom space and a 21,000-square-foot warehouse.
The company was founded in 1931 in Fort Atkinson, Wis., by Tom Hadinger, who is Ms. Hadinger’s stepfather. He sold his interests in Wisconsin and shifted operations to Naples in 1983. Ms. Hadinger’s mother, Judy, is also involved in the business, overseeing and handling purchasing for the area rug section that she started 19 years ago.
Ms. Hadinger’s purview at the store spans everything from A to Z.
“I’m involved in pretty much every aspect — advertising, work flow and processes, social media, our website, community involvement, personnel and hiring,” she said. “I don’t do all those things by myself, but I work with the people who do.”
She also closely follows flooring industry trends to stay on top of consumer tastes and what’s driving the market. “There’s definitely a trend toward tile and wood, versus carpet, and luxury vinyl planks are a big category and getting bigger,” she said.
She’s been with the company for seven years, the last two as president. She spent the first five years learning the ropes and acquiring knowledge, first learning about rugs, then flooring and cabinets, which are a relatively new offering for the company.
Prior to that, she lived in Colorado, where she taught social studies at the high school level for seven years and then worked in corporate training.
Skills honed in the classroom definitely have valuable application in her current position.
“Teaching prepares you for pretty much any job,” she said. “Teaching is a job where you have to be fully autonomous in running a classroom and you have to have a lot of various skills to do that.”
Ms. Hadinger grew up in Jacksonville and Gainesville before attending college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she earned an undergraduate degree in economics. She then attained a master’s in education at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and moved to Denver. She lived there for 15 years, marrying Adam Schonberg during that time period. After the birth of their son Drew, 9, the couple moved to Collier County to be closer to family. Ms. Schonberg is an account executive at Florida Weekly. “My family sustains me,” said Ms. Hadinger.
Her business philosophy centers on the concept of service.
“I believe that we should do what we can to serve our customers and make their experience a good one,” she said. “We also try to show our employees how much we appreciate them. Being a family-run business, we place a great emphasis on the family atmosphere. We also appreciate our community and like to give back.”
Hadinger Flooring demonstrates its support for schools in Collier and Lee counties by donating more than 100 rugs each year to teachers for use in their classrooms.
The company holds an annual charity golf tournament and donates the proceeds to a different organization each year, and also donates rugs for silent auctions that benefit charitable causes.
“Going forward, I think we’re going to step it up a little bit and do a more organized effort to support one local charity every year,” Ms. Hadinger said.
The concept of service also guides her personal life, which includes coaching Odyssey of the Mind teams at Seagate Elementary School, where Drew is a student. And she is working to start a local chapter of the international nonprofit Children’s International Summer Villages. CISV promotes cross-cultural understanding among youths and adults through educational programs, with the goal of encouraging respect for cultural differences.
“It’s a fantastic organization,” she said, adding, “I participated when I was 11, and I would like my child and other children in the area to have the same opportunity.” n
Interview with Susan Hadinger
Business mentor: “I have many mentors, but the biggest are my parents and our CEO, Ed Keller. My parents have done a great job of building a fantastic business, and Ed has been very generous in sharing his extensive flooring knowledge with me.”
First job: “I was a summer camp counselor.”
Two things you look for when hiring: “Reliability and a good attitude are two things we emphasize. You can train for job duties, but you can’t train attitude.”
Any job openings? “We are currently looking for an administrative assistant and a rug handler.”