In the early 1980’s, Joe Lauer was the manager of the local Perkins in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The same restaurant that Tom and Joyce Schlough took the family to every Sunday. Tom, the President of Park Industries® at the time, saw something in Joe that stuck with him. Joe truly cared about his customers. Based solely on this, Tom offered Joe a job. Tom could teach Joe the stone industry…he couldn’t teach him Joe the passion for true customer care.
On March 19th, 1984, Joe started his career with Park Industries® as a sales representative. Every customer Joe has interacted with since, has felt that care too.
A Countertop Original
Joe Lauer was a true pioneer of the granite countertop industry. He was one of the first to focus on countertops for Park Industries® and was there for its inception. As one of the very first two Park Industries sale representatives dedicated to countertop machine sales, Joe covered 45 states at one point. The other sales rep was Jeff Goodsell, who continues to serve as the territorial rep for the majority of Canada and the Northeastern USA region.
Joe shares, “Countertop shops simply weren’t a thing back in the 80’s. Plus, there were no cell phones, email, or social media, so I literally had to go out knocking on doors. I remember visiting Southern California when there were only a handful of shops in the whole region that did granite countertops.”
Joe recalls Park’s very first attempts at building countertops machines, “All we knew how to do at the time, was to build these big block saws with 11 ft+ diameter blades. We tried shrinking them accordingly. They were overbuilt and still way too big (laughs).”
As the countertop industry began to grow and eventually boom, Joe was there helping lead Park Industries® through the introduction of CNC’s, different materials and more. All while keeping this question at the forefront, “Are we helping our customers as much as we can?”
After 25 years of sales, Joe served briefly as an Installation Coordinator before settling into his role as Inside Sales Manager. There his focus was the perfect fit – speak with customers and make sure they are having good experiences. He retired in 2020 after 36 years at Park Industries®.
Thank You Joe
Joe created high expectations for how Park Industries should interact with customers and the industry. Mike Schlough, Park’s current Co-President, was at that table those Sunday’s at Perkins. His words on Joe’s impact, “Joe Lauer is one of the core people who helped build the Park Industries® we have today. I cannot thank him enough for his many years of service and all he’s done for the company.”
What stood out to Joe about working at Park, “I felt like I was empowered to work on my customers’ best behalf. When I brought customer issues to the front, I felt listened to and that the company shared the same passion.”
Joe wanted to thank a number of people who were prominent in his long and storied career: Tom and Joyce Schlough, Gary Stroeing, Dave Titus, and so many others. Joe also states that none of it would’ve been possible without his wife Julie.