Randall employee recognized as 'rising star'

Women are changing the equation in a male-dominated business

By Doug Cantwell
dcantwell@taosnews.com
Posted 12/19/19

"It's a growing industry," said Cortnie Gurno, human resources and marketing manager at Randall Lumber and Hardware, "and I think people are more comfortable shopping at a store where there's a female presence."

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Randall employee recognized as 'rising star'

Women are changing the equation in a male-dominated business

Posted

"It's a growing industry," said Cortnie Gurno, human resources and marketing manager at Randall Lumber and Hardware, "and I think people are more comfortable shopping at a store where there's a female presence."

Gurno recently was named a Rising Star among "Top Women in Hardware and Building Supply" by HBSDealer, the industry magazine of record for hardware and building supplies. This was a big deal not just for her but for the store as well.

"When I got nominated by my former supervisor, it was a surprise," she said, "but it just shows the belief people have had in me here. They push me to strive to do better. But I can't succeed unless the team I'm with is right there with me. We push each other.

"When I started here 10 years ago, it was pretty much all males, but since then we've brought in a lot of women," Gurno added. "And not just in the accounting office, either. We now have two female managers - three including myself - cashiers, department heads, even a member of the yard crew at our north store."

This has helped change the equation for home improvement, Gurno observed. Women are taking a more active role in home improvement - not just writing up the traditional "honey do list" and handing it off to their husband.

"Women have always had a lot of say in remodeling and decorating projects," said Gurno, "but if there are women they can engage with at the point of purchase, it's more likely they'll take part in procuring the materials as well.

"It's a two-way street - male and female - you've got to make it work together," she added. "And women are finding out that hardware and home improvement stores are fun."

The burgeoning staff of women at Randall's likely has to do with the store's current ownership. "Paula [Randall Ervin] is my boss, but she's also been my mentor," said Gurno.

Randall's staff now includes two of Gurno's sisters as well, both of whom work at Randall's north store in El Prado. The original store, at 315 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, has been around since 1921 - one of the oldest stores in town. But they expanded three years ago, adding another location that stocks ranch and feed supplies as well as lumber and hardware, at 14 State Road 150.

Gurno started with Randall's right out of high school, working her way up from cashier to lead cashier to department head to floor manager, then supervisor and the accounting office. She got the promotion to HR manager and, most recently, took on marketing and advertising as well.

"They're a good family to work for," she said of the Randalls. "Our customer base is really good as well, and I think that's one of the main reasons I enjoy my job - developing those lasting relationships with people. Sometimes I miss being out on the floor because I don't get to engage with customers as much now."

The Randalls have supported her desire to have children as well as a career - another factor that's kept Gurno there for a decade. As the photos all over her office attest, she's the proud mother of Josiah (age 4), Ivy (age 3) and Mia (age 2). "They've been very good about it here," she said. "They were generous with maternity leave, they allow me flexibility with my schedule and let me work from home on a regular basis."

Today, as marketing manager, Gurno engages with customers at the macro level and has established Randall's presence in the cyber world. "I manage our website, do our Facebook and Instagram posts and other social media, plus I work with our local radio stations to keep up with our ads," she said. "I do the circulars every month as well and also our newspaper ads."

"We have events, too, like sales throughout the store. I put together a sale every month to drive the traffic in and market those specific items to get people in the door."

"I like to market our people as well - not just our products," Gurno added. "Come in and see Cindy, come in and see Gary. They love to explain how to use our products and make sure you get the right one. I tell customers to come in and talk to the people who will really take care of them."

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