Three Insights I Learned From Kim Weimer
By Andrea Hansen
Kim Weimer is the President of Fastener Warehouse Ltd., which is a wholesale distributor of specialty and standard fasteners in Saskatoon with branches in Regina and Winnipeg. Founded in 1994 with her husband Bob Weimer, the company grew from its original 1,500 sq.ft. warehouse to the current main branch of 60,000 sq.ft., which houses over 20,000 products.
Kim Weimer and I first met almost 15 years ago at Fastener Warehouse and it was around that time Profit magazine had named her to the yearly list of Canada’s top 100 women entrepreneurs for the fourth year in a row! I was in admiration of this accomplished woman in business (and she would quickly brush any accolades). It doesn’t take you long to realize Kim is not motivated by position or prosperity. She comes from rural, humble beginnings and taking care of others is what drives her. Kim is one of those people that you always look forward to seeing and with Kim and Bob, I see a shining example of when family, friends and business can mix. I share these insights about Kim Weimer in the hope that you can apply them to your own life and business.
1. It’s not business, it’s personal. Whether its employees, customers or suppliers, Kim builds deep, loyal and long-lasting relationships. Their company – which employs over 45 employees – has little turnover and most employees have been with the company for many years. She would go against the advice of many and employs family members, friends and even relatives of employees, but that is the culture that helps the company thrive. She is prepared to take the risks and challenges that go with it, including even having to fire her son at one point. She takes care of her team and clients like they are family and puts those relationships first. In fact, their very first client is still a client today and their largest one. With Kim, it’s the opposite of what we tend to hear, “it’s not personal, it’s business” and it certainly seems to work for this family business.
2. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. When I think of that expression, I think of Kim Weimer. They launched the business after Bob lost his job, while the couple had 3 young kids (including a 4-month old baby), while Kim still worked at another job! Members of Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan will know the story of Kim Weimer and the beginnings of Fastener Warehouse as she credits the organization for helping the company survive the first couple years. However, we know it takes more than a loan for a business to grow into a multimillion dollar company. Kim is very disciplined and hard-working, right from her first job in a gas station to today. She attributes that discipline to all the sports she played in her youth and she brings an attitude of “get the job done and do it right”. I love a story she shared of when a cart of fasteners that was ready to be shipped to the customer tipped over. She heard the crash and came to see her team frozen in a state of despair at the disaster of mixed up fasteners that needed to get on the road. She rallied the team,
rolled up her sleeves and said, “Let’s Go” and together they got it done. Guess what? They were only 10 minutes over-time getting the order back out.
3. Time to pause. Kim is a busy business owner, but when you meet with her, she’ll make you feel like you are the most important part of her day. She is not consumed by her business and Kim knows the value of investing in relationships. Meetings with Kim will turn quickly to conversations about life, family and children. Relationships matter and you build relationships by taking time to pause, listen and share. When working side-by-side with your spouse (I love that her and Bob still share an office to this day) and children, the growing business could overshadow the family-time. Kim makes sure family-time together and celebrating life outside of work is priority.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” - C.S. Lewis.
Kim Weimer invests in relationships and yes, those relationships have a return, but Kim would never measure a relationship in that way. I believe Kim’s principles in business simply come from the “golden rule” to treat others how you want to be treated and actions speak louder than words. I think we all could use a reminder of the golden rule now and if you have forgotten, start where you are. Thanks to a long relationship with Kim, I benefit from that reminder with each encounter.
First published in the May 2018 edition of The Business Voice.