The Synchrony Pillars Project set out to celebrate 10 individuals who define what it means to be from a particular place, help elevate their local economies, and foster community pride. Renee Spresser serves her small community by running the biggest business in town.
RENEE SPRESSER | "THE CORNERSTONE"
PAULS FUNITURE COMPANY | SELDEN, KS
Pauls Furniture Co. isn't merely a fixture in Selden, Kansas. It's the dominant business in town, covering 17,000 square feet and occupying half a city block.
Pauls has attracted a substantial customer base through high-quality inventory, massive variety, and a lot of hard work. People come to this town of just 220 people to buy furniture and to experience Pauls' cultural phenomenon.
Seven years ago, Renee Spresser and her husband, Leroy, bought Pauls, which had already been in business for six decades. She modernized the business, building a sophisticated website and leveraging social media to bring in business from as far away as Colorado.
Spresser is especially proud of her tongue-in-cheek video series, in which she stars along with her team and two adorable, inflatable dinosaurs. "I have always believed in marketing with memorable commercials," she says. "We have one we did last year that has more than 50,000 views online. We want to entertain people and make them comfortable coming to visit the store."
Pauls is beating the odds by thriving in a community where many businesses are struggling. The store employs local residents and helps other businesses in town by attracting shoppers from a large radius.
"Not long ago, there were businesses up and down Main Street. Now there are crumbling buildings in many places," she says. "My husband and I bought and operate this business with the sole purpose of keeping this community alive."
She admits that the pressure is "enormous," but it's worth it. "It's a great deal of responsibility, but it's what drives us to keep going, to succeed, and to make sure this community survives and, hopefully, comes alive again."