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Community Connections: Cody Goeppner Thrives on Serving Customers and His Community

What is your proudest moment as part of the independent channel?

Growing up in the independent channel, I’ve had a lot of proud moments, including working as the seventh generation of the family business at our hometown hardware store, singing the national anthem at True Value’s Reunion in Washington D.C. and being awarded the Young Retailer of the Year Award in 2020. But my proudest moment of them all is when I had the opportunity to mentor six employees through NHPA’s Retail Management Certification Program (RMCP) over four years. Each time I witnessed them grow exponentially in their professional and personal lives. To be a small part of their growth and align them with our company’s goals at the same time was truly my proudest moment every single time I got the chance to see them complete the program.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Since my first day working in the hardware store, connecting with the customers has been my absolute favorite part of the job. Throughout my career, it’s been a joy to anchor myself to the customer’s experience when working through challenges I face with employees, company policies and procedures and everything else that comes with running operations within the independent channel. My customer-centric mentality is the cornerstone of my professional success and fuels my drive for excellence every single day.

What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?

When I was going through RMCP in 2017, Wil Davis led a purpose-driven discussion with the entire class that became a turning point for my personal life and my career. He addressed the fact that often times in the independent channel, a manager’s purpose is tied to the purpose of the company. We are trained to align ourselves with that purpose to better manage the day-to-day in the store. But without a personal purpose, managers are led to burnout and a disconnection from the company’s purpose they were tied to in the first place. Davis then led the class through an exercise to uncover our purpose that touched our cores and could stand on their own independent of the hardware stores we each represented. Out of this exercise, I developed my purpose: To create, inspire and stand for excellence for generations to come. My purpose has been a driving factor for me through the highs and lows of my career. Being anchored in my purpose has helped me make tough decisions and take risks that I may not have taken before. This single exercise gave me permission to find my purpose in everything I do and align it with the companies and organizations I work with.

How do you stay involved in the community?

When I was living in my hometown, involvement in the community was simply part of being in a small-town community so I volunteered for local community events, attended and supported the school’s sports, marching band and theater and donated a lot of supplies from the store to community organizations. When I moved to Washington, I quickly became involved in the local chamber of commerce serving as president for two years. This opportunity created networking opportunities where I was introduced to people who benefited the business and myself. Today, I work closely with several community organizations, I sit on advisory boards for the local school districts and I’m involved in the local community theater as a board member and director for their mainstage shows. It’s a passion of mine to connect the world of theater with other parts of the community since the arts created so many opportunities for me in my professional life.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I truly believed people when they told me, “You can be anything you want to be.” I took that to heart and dreamed of becoming a surgeon (solely because of Gray’s Anatomy), a Broadway star or President of the United States.

What kind of music do you like to play in the store?

In our farm stores, we typically play country music with some oldies mixed in there as well. Of course, around the Holidays, we play Christmas music to get everyone into the spirit. I remember growing up in my family’s hardware store listening to the hits of the 50s and 60s and I always thought, “I can’t wait until 90s music is considered “oldies” and we can play NSYNC and Britney Spears”, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

When I’m not working on a production at the theater or working on a community event, I love to explore the Cascade Mountains with my pups, travel around the country and enjoy my 1905 cottage on my 3-acre vineyard in the middle of Washington wine country.

About Jacob Musselman

Jacob is the content coordinator for Hardware Retailing Magazine. A lifelong Hoosier, Jacob earned a B.S. in journalism and telecommunications with a minor in digital publishing from Ball State University. He loves making bagels, going to farmers markets with his wife Hannah and two dogs and watching Formula One.

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