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SWFL family-owned business relies on purposeful culture to overcome shortages

Posted at 11:19 AM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 06:03:10-05

NAPLES, Fla — When Michael Wynn walks into his hardware store in Naples, it's almost always busy with customers. And that's a good thing. But two years into the pandemic, it also creates some problems.

He says he has a road map to guide him through it.

"We have best practices and values that are integrated into every aspect of our company that has helped us be successful for generations," Wynn says.

Wynn's story is part of a Fox 4 series of reports about what Southwest Florida small business owners are doing to keep their businesses going and their employees on the job through the supply chain and staff shortages. The series leads into the Resnick-Wynn Family Business Conference at Florida Gulf Coast University on March 4. Keynote speaker, Steve Forbes, and business owners like Wynn will give advice about how family-owned businesses can thrive in a changing world.

Wynn is a name people know in Naples. His grandfather Don started the family business in the 1940s with a grocery store. Today the family owns 12 Sunshine Ace Hardware Storesand employs more than 500 people.

But with the pandemic, home improvement rush still booming and the labor shortage showing no sign of stopping, Wynn needs more workers.

"To make sure we provide an elevated level of service," Wynn says. "We're fortunate that we've now caught up with a lot of our vacant positions. And we're focused more on labor productivity and more efficient means and increased technology, that allows us to be able to accomplish more with less."

"It's going to be harder for everyone to compete against a limited supply of workers," he says. "And so it's going to be those who put their people first, who create that great environment, who create that competitive pay and benefits, that ultimately win in the end."

It's the kind of purposeful culture, Wynn says, that has been in his family-owned business for generations. He believes it's what will get him through whatever happens next.

"I do see some easing of supply issues as we near the end of 2022," Wynn says. "But I think, just based on the number of people who are retiring, and some of the changes people are making as far as their desires for their career, we're going to have some workforce challenges for the next five years at least."