Beginnings - December 1985
I was introduced to the golf car industry while acting as a rep for a company that sold Bimini tops for boats and enclosures for golf cars. I couldn't imagine how you could enclose a golf car, coming from Ohio I had never seen a golf car with a top on it. I was covering the state of Florida calling on golf car dealers. What a nice bunch of guys they were. I remember making a call one day to Wonder Golf Car in Orlando. I spent some time speaking with Jerry who was Wonder’s parts guy and he asked me where they might find that mirror that went from one side of the car frame to the other. I suggested he contact his accessory provider. That got a big laugh and I was informed that there was no such thing. I asked Jerry where they purchased the accessories their customers requested and his reply was Western Auto. At that point I understood Jerry’s frustration because, in truth, he didn’t have a good supplier and often could not fulfill customer requests. Jerry was actually the last person I spoke with as a rep for that Bimini company, because that December afternoon I was let go. Turns out they didn’t need me anymore. But my conversation with Jerry sparked the best idea I’ve had to date. When I lost my job I found an opportunity. Of course, I had no money, but I certainly had a lot of determination.
Belief – January 1986
Even though I had no money, my determination got the best of me and I started Stenten's in January 1986. My one bedroom condo on the third floor offered little room for storage, but my lack of money made that easy – no money, no stockpile, no problem. With some creative thinking and a dear friend, I was able to purchase coolers at wholesale pricing. Aleda Tush, who I came to know through my love of fishing, owns Mr. CB's (my favorite store) and she agreed to let me order my coolers with her and pay the same price she did. It was actually a win-win situation because the increase in Aleda’s order allowed for free freight. But it was still a leap of faith for Aleda. She allowed me to pick up my coolers the day they were delivered and only asked that I pay for them by the end of that day. But I was a savvy business woman because when I placed my order, the coolers were already sold. So as soon as I picked them up from Aleda’s I would deliver them to my customers and collect their payment. I would then rush back and give Aleda a check to pay for my order. To this day I know that without her faith in me, this business of mine may have floundered. It was a humble start to the great business I enjoy today.