Reflections on forty-one years in business

November 12, 2021By Behind the Shelf Blog

by Dave Wendland, vice president strategic relations

Decades signs for anniversary celebration
Signs from the “Decades” rooms at the HRG Anniversary Celebration.

It’s often said that more than half of new businesses fail during their first year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this isn’t necessarily true. Data from the Bureau shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. But what about those rare few that have persevered through 40+ years?

That’s one of the reasons the owners of HRG (Hamacher Resource Group) elected to persevere and celebrate our milestone anniversary with a Celebration and Growth Summit. Despite multiple delays and last-minute adjustments due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the HRG ownership team was committed to hosting a dinner and business program to commemorate the company’s many achievements surrounded by as many guests (customers, vendors, and business partners) who were able and willing to make the trek to Waukesha.

Four reflections

Although there have been countless moments throughout the company’s history worth reflecting on, there are four areas in particular that Dawn Vogelsang, HRG president, highlighted as bright spots:

  • Culture matters – from the beginning, founder Dave Hamacher fostered an environment of sincere caring and a sense of family
  • Get involved – join trade associations and bring value to their mission
  • Work with publications – gain visibility and credibility through editorial contributions
  • Remain transparent with all employees regarding the health and direction of the business

Six turning points

Among the many turning points for the business, six stand out:

  • Dave Hamacher started the business on his kitchen table on April Fool’s Day 1980.
  • Dave retired in 2000 and sold the company to a venture capital-backed technology company.
  • A group of managers, led by Dawn Vogelsang, repurchased the company in 2001.
  • HRG managed a UK location and office from 2002 to 2009.
  • Working across the retail supply chain, HRG significantly expanded its client footprint with new service offerings.
  • During the pandemic of 2020, HRG elected to rebrand itself and focus on five core pillars.

One direction

Our mission statement is to serve as a trusted resource partner to our customers, community, and coworkers. That mission will continue to guide decisions and choices as we collectively steer in the same direction.