05 Dec Staff Q&A: Norma Navntoft, Sales Associate
How did you start working with office furniture?
I started working at my first dealership in the 1970s as a file clerk. Within six months, I became the showroom assistant and soon after, floor manager. That’s when I fell in love with furniture and design. Every project is different, with its own set of circumstances and challenges. It never gets dull, even if I am working with the same client.
What is most important to you in working with a client?
My number one objective is keeping the client happy. Years ago, when something went wrong with a client’s project, I apologized and immediately set out to make it right. In the end, my client told me, “what I will remember when this is all done is the way you solved the problem, not the problem itself.” I have kept that in mind ever since.
Favorite project and why?
It’s fun to help clients with their individual needs and considerations. For my ski resort clients, for example, I’ve built workstations that integrate space for skis because that’s what their staff members will do during their lunch breaks. I have many clients who allow people to bring their pets to work. It’s always fun to consider how to accommodate animals. We’ve also worked with ADA accommodations, making workstations and office furniture fit for students and employees with disabilities.
What can you share about sales?
Sales just comes naturally to me. I was the kid who baked cookies for bake sales and sold potholders door-to-door. I was always selling one way or the other. I just liked being around other people.
What’s Contract Furnishing’s key to success?
A dealership succeeds because of its name and reputation. It’s about relationships, pure and simple. People want someone to stand behind a product; someone who they can call when an issue arises. In this day and age, some companies turn to buying online, not caring about the relationship. But a lot of people still care. And, that’s where we come in.
I am an avid reader. I read a lot of books – and not on a Kindle! I love the feel and smell of a book and walking into a bookstore. My favorite genres are murder mysteries and suspense. I grew up on the Agatha Christy series, with its clever plots. And, I do like a good biography, especially of the rock-and-roll variety.
I’m a huge patron of the arts, an indie film fan, and frequent art-museum-visitor. I enjoy the Botanical Gardens. As a Denver-native, I believe that if you can’t find something to do in this city, you are not looking!
Why Contract Furnishings?
Because of the family-style culture that exists here. Christopher has a talent for pulling together a group of diverse people, throwing them into the mix and coming out with this incredible productivity. He understands us all, as different as we are. It’s been awesome to work here. I am really happy to be here at this time in my life. Christopher is an amazing boss, and this is a great group. And, of course, let’s not forget, we are dog-friendly!