Dana Heck, Red Door Consigments – Movers & Shapers

IMG_0314As an Army brat, Dana Rock Heck knows how to “adapt and overcome.”

LAKESIDE – Dana Rodd Heck is the main “smile” behind the actual red door at Red Door Consignment Store in Lakeside, a business that was truly serendipitously inspired.

Heck literally blazed many trails before winding up in Lakeside.

The daughter of an Army intelligence office and an Army nurse, Heck was born in Nuremberg, Germany. Her parents had met overseas during World War II and married in Australia.

Heck was not able to call any place home until she was 10 years old when the family settled in Cortez, Colorado.

With her father still in the service, and her brothers who were older, gone, one in Viet Nam where her father was, life for Dana from age 10 on was like being an only child.

“I had a wonderful childhood,” said Heck. “I had my mother all to myself. She was the most Godly woman I have ever known. She had worked in a MASH Unit, like on TV, and saw horrible things, bayonet wounds and more.”

At 16, Heck worked after school at Sonic as a car hop. That is also an important age to remember for her because that is how old she was when she met the love of her life, Rick Heck. Rick was 9 months younger than her, but it was love at first sight, and they met at church.

That may be one of the earliest recollections of a “cougar,” before it was called that.

“He could not even drive,” said Heck.

Obviously, that did not matter to her. They have been together 41 years and married 36 of those.

Dana went to school at Fort Lewis College in Durango, majoring in business, and Rick got a Masters Degree, according to Dana, in the school of hard knocks, growing up in the family garage building hot rods.

Dana never really aspired to be anything but a wife and mother, and she did that. She and Rick have three grown birth children, two living in the White Mountains, one in Cortez, and a foster daughter who lives in Cottonwood. They have six grandchildren and are soon to be great grandparents.

Heck said they never really had a plan.

“We just throw things at the wall and whatever sticks,” said Heck.

Dana was sick of cold weather and in 1986, they moved to Page, Arizona, by Lake Powell. She says it is about 10 degrees warmer than here. Prior to that move, she and Rick drove all over Arizona looking for their new home, but had not found it. A family reunion had been planned for Page just a few weeks later in September, and it was obviously “what stuck” because they picked up and moved there in December. Rick opened an off road shop and also worked part time at the power plant. Dana got her radiology license and went to work for a dentist.

Wanderlust settled in and wanting to be near family, they decided to move to Cottonwood. They nested there for a while and then Rick, who was wholesaling cars, was invited to be a GM at dealership in Show Low in 2001. Kicking and screaming, but on the road again, the Hecks wound up in Show Low.

Needing a place to work on cars, Rick bought property on Porter Mountain Road in Lakeside and built a facility. When the property next to it became available, he bought it and started building what was supposed to be a machine shop, but before it was finished the people had backed out.

It was time once again to throw something on the wall and see if it would stick – the Heck Plan, if you will.

Dana’s friend and tack lady, Mickey Oliver, had stopped by the shop and was telling her the Springerville Antique Mall was closing. There it was, they looked at each other, took out paper and pencil and started drawing the layout of what was to be the next “recession proof” business and tenant for the machine shop building. They had ever space rented within a week and people started coming in. Talk about serendipity. Prior to this venture, Dana had never even been in a consignment store in her life.

Rick had also rented out space on to a cabinet shop and a sign shop, but in 2007 they both“tanked.” When they could not find renters, Rick told Dana, “You are expanding.”

Expand she did, and it also “stuck.”

Another expansion idea was the little restaurant she opened inside the consignment shop, a hard business to sustain in any economy. Though it was the “talk of the town,” and had wonderful food, after nine months, the former business major knew it was time to close it. That was a disappointment.

There are about eight key ladies who have helped Heck make the consignment store a success. Nearly every one of them has been with her since the start, especially Mickey who helped her birth the idea.

“These ladies were gifts from God,” said Heck.

Today Heck has over 1500 vendors and consignors.

Heck loves what she does. She loves people, making friends, and just coming to work every day.

Heck’s husband is into racing and probably will always have something to do with cars, and though Dana is not into racing herself, she loves to go “Jeeping.” She also loves to go shooting. She is even NRA Certified. She also loves gardening and spending time with her grandchildren.

If she could go somewhere, a bucket list item maybe, she would go to Egypt, if it were safe. She has always been fascinated with its culture.

With the red, white and blue running through her veins, her parents, who have passed on, would be very proud of Dana today. She has become, her words, “a conservative activist,” for quite some time, hosting political meetings at her consignment shop, and making her voice heard, even if only by her actions. In high school, she always favored current events, and still does.

Several times she has been approached to run for council, but always refused. She would always tell those who asked her to run, “You need a Pit Bull, and I’m a pussycat.”

Like Bob Dylan sang, “The times, they are a changin’.”

Recently, when asked to run for town council, she told the people, “if you can’t find anyone else, I will do it.” Her name was throw in the hat for the Pinetop-Lakeside Town Council, and she got the job.

Heck said she recalls a comment made by AZ Representative Brenda Barton that has stuck with her and made her say she would run. Barton words were, “Challenge begins with the grass roots.”

“I plan to help make things better for our little community,” said Heck. She has been sworn in and is getting up to speed on her duties. She is now reading the book put out by the League of Cities and Towns for her new job.

Once again, the Heck Plan of throwing something on the wall and seeing if it sticks, has proven to be the plan that works for the Hecks.

Dana Heck is a “Mover & Shaper.”

Sandy Morgan, Owner Perfect Paws – Movers & Shapers

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SHOW LOW — Sandy Morgan is the owner of Perfect Paws on the Cooley-Deuce split in Show Low. You may or may not see her if you go into the pet store, but she is there, usually grooming dogs in the back.

“People say, we come in and you are never there,” said Morgan, “but I am always here.”

Such is the life of a successful, hardworking small business owner. As a small business person, Morgan is totally responsible for her business and the employees and all of the overhead. She has to generate her income. She is, therefore, always working, or networking, giving back to the community, taking care of her family, and on rare occasion, steeling a few moments of to actually do something for herself.

Morgan grew up in Westchester, California, a secluded neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles. Her mom was a secretary and her dad a Los Angeles police officer who was injured on the job. Her parents divorced when she was five, but her single mom served as a role model for perseverance and hard work. Her mom worked as a secretary for TRW but had ambitions. Though it took her 13 years, her mom went back to school and earned her master’s degree, and a PhD in Education, no small feat.

After high school, Morgan went to junior college and then worked as a secretary herself.

Later in her married life, she opened her first pet store at age 27 in Sherman Oaks and then a second one in Northridge.

The seed for the pet store most likely germinated from her grandparents in Pasadena who owned a pet store in the 50s, which was more like a feed store with pets and they did have pets, Poodles, the rage in those days.

Though business was good in California, Morgan had two kids in pre-school, ages 4 and 6. The school was right across the street from the high school, and the joke was the pre-school had private security. Secret service were always there because President Reagan’s grandchildren went there.

Even with the security, Morgan did not like what she began to see at the high school on that street, and the family began entertaining thoughts of exiting California to raise their children.

Morgan sold her pet stores, and she and her husband at the time, Michael Keele, moved the family to the White Mountains where Sandy’s dad and step mom lived.

Her husband obtained the Roto-Rooter franchise for this area, but she soon saw they needed more money to live on. Sandy immediately saw she needed to generate her own income She went to work in sales for Hugh Williams at KVSL. Later she moved on to work for Dave Robbins at KRFM , where she became sales manager. Her left there to go to work in Springerville for Ted Barbone with KQAZ and KRVZ radio part time. She also took a part time job with the newspaper there.

Working the two part time jobs allowed Morgan to get back on the path towards owing a pet store again. That was 1995. She made time for grooming at K&R Feeds, which was at that time next door to her present location.

When the building next to K&R became available, Sandy started the process of searching for a small business loan to purchase the building to open Perfect Paws. Though the deal took so long it almost fell through, she persevered and finally got the funding. That was 1997.

Though it looks so easy when you walk in the store today, and see all of her merchandise and all of the live pets, the customers looking around and at the register, the journey Sandy Morgan has made to present day success has not been without obstacles.

Divorced when she started the business, and a single Mom building the business, Sandy was surprised with a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2002. With no cancer center at the time, she had to go to the Valley for surgery and radiation treatment, taking her away from her business and her children who were 15 and 17 at the time.

She would head to the Valley and stay with friends on Monday, receive her treatments all week, and return home on Friday to handle everything else. She had an employee who helped with her kids and other things, an ex-husband close by who also helped with the kids, but she had to face her treatments alone, but in stride.

“I didn’t have any problems. I had the surgery and then the radiation was easy. I didn’t have to have chemo. The radiation took about an hour each day and, really, I did well. You could say I was the poster child for radiation.”

She is cancer free today and does have regular mammograms.

One day Sandy was listening to the radio and heard Main Street Director Sharon Adams talking about Main Street. As soon as the show was over, she gave Sharon a call and volunteered to be a part of the Main Street efforts since her business was on Main Street. That was many years ago and she is still on that board. In fact, she is President of the Fourth of July Rodeo and under her leadership it has grown from one day to two sanctioned event and attracts 3,000 people.

Working with Main Street helped the community, and helped Sandy as she continued to build her small business.

Not long after her radiation treatment ended, Sandy met her husband Tom Morgan. That relationship led to marriage and the two have been working hard to build their future towards retirement and make a difference in the community.

Tom is the Arena Manager for the Rodeo and for work, like many White Mountain couples, he has had to work out of state, as he is currently. They make it work, talk to each other every day and he comes home as often as he can.

When 2008’s economic downturn touched the nation, Perfect Paws was hit too. She cut employees, tightened her belt every way that could and just worked harder while waiting for the storm to pass.

Before it passed though, Sandy had a heart attack. That was 2010 or 12, she doesn’t recall exactly. She was up and down one night until about 2 a.m. She had the classic pain running down her left arm, she was sweating and having trouble breathing. She wondered if she was having a heart attack, but just paced back and forth, not wanting to wake anyone up. Like many, she was also knew her insurance was not that good. Her husband was out of town working and the pain was not unbearable, so finally went back to bed and went to sleep. The next morning, when she and her husband spoke, she told him about it, and he told her he thought she did have a heart attack.

Morgan called the doctor’s office and told them what happened and they told her to come on in. Unfortunately, being the boss and a small business owner, she had a full day of grooming ahead of her and two appointments regarding advertising which had been set. She told them she could come Friday. That was Tuesday. On Friday, she learned she did have a heart attack and that sent her to the cardiologist which sent her to the Valley for a stent. Driven, and responsible, Sandy was back at work within a week. She tells everyone not to wait like she did, but these are the kind of things a small business owner faces – trying to make it all work.

Luckily she loves what she does, and Sandy survived competition and the lull in the economy not just in 2008, but 9, 10 and 11. She said she had to expand during that time to keep up with the competition to survive.

“I had gotten behind and found myself digging out,” said Morgan, “but I just kept working.”

The store today is very inviting, having expanded and gotten a new facade since its original opening.

“We are the only live pet store around,” said Morgan. “We have added Added salt water fish and have spread out so we are less crowded. We expanded our fresh water fish, and reptiles. We have more live stock because we have more room.”

“People come in to look at the pets. My Grandma always said that people will come in to look at the pets. We are a zoo.”

“We have schools come in for tours of the store, and we do presentations every summer on reptiles and amphibians.”

A local business man and a county supervisor tell Morgan that getting to visit her store is a reward for their children. If they do their chores and get good grades, they get to visit Perfect Paws.

With her focus on giving back to the community and having a successful business, Sandy Martin has just “worked.” Thinking a bit about retirement with 65 on the horizon, she visited with a local financial expert to see where she was.

Much to her surprise, and proof of her hard work and focus, he told her she had done just what she was supposed to. She bought property and kept it – did not sell it. So retirement will come.

Her Dad has passed away and the house in Lake Havasu is occupied right now, but she would love to be able to winter in Havasu and spend summers in the White Mountains. She and Tom have a boat but they have not gotten to use it lately. Taking her family to Lake Powell is a big item on her bucket list. They both love the outdoors. She even has a horse and loves to ride, but running a small business she has not gotten to ride him lately either.

When he husband comes home, they love to go to Licano’s and dance and listen to Armoir Gomez. They did give themselves a valentine’s get away to Laughlin, all on the spur of the moment, a rarity in their lives.

Her kids are grown now. Nikki is married and teaches seventh and eight graders at the Junior High and Matt is also married, works for his Dad and has given her two grandkids who are 13 and 9, and like she did with her grandparents who had a pet store, they learned to bag crickets as soon as they were born.

“I feel good about what I have done,” said Morgan. “I have worked hard.”

For anyone starting out in business, I would tell them to be honest with their customers and to be involved in the community. You must offer service to your community. Give back. Fill a need and be educated on what you do. It is all PR. You have to serve the people.”

For Sandy Morgan, who has not slowed down since she first started, slowing down is in her cards, but not yet.

It is said, “All roads that lead to success have to pass through hard work boulevard at some point.”

Sandy Morgan has passed through more than one of those stop signs on that road.

It is time to slow down.

petlady@frontiernet.net

Brad Jarvis – Movers & Shapers

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Brad Jarvis, an “business incubator” in St. Johns

ST. JOHNS – “I love St. Johns,” said Brad Jarvis. “It has been good to me and my family.”

A third generation St. Johns’ son, Jarvis grew up in St. Johns. His father was the elementary school teacher and his mother was a a stay-at-home-mom.

Like many kids who grow up in small towns, when they graduate high school, they head off to college, go to work in a big city, get married, and have children.

It is almost the American Dream, but absence often does make the heart grow fonder, and once those from rural small town America get to the family stage, they yearn for their roots, or a place like it. They want to raise their children like they were raised.

Such is the story of Brad Jarvis.

With an entrepreneurial spirit embedded in him at an early age, Jarvis said, “I never knew what I wanted to be. I just knew I wanted to work for myself. You can either make yourself do the hard things so someone else makes the money, or you can do the hard things for yourself. Either way, you are going to do them.”

After attending Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher where he met Shauna Lee Flake, they got married and began their lives in the Valley. Jarvis was on his way to becoming an Investment Manager.

Jarvis went into the water and ice and ice cream business in Chandler and, though he says it was scarey going back to where you were raised, the family chose to make the transition to St. Johns.

In 2003 Jarvis bought St. Johns Ice Company, developed it and sold it in 2008.

In 2009 he partnered with Claryce and Karson Crosky, and they built the Gas-N-Go, a 24 hour gas and convenience store, anchored by an El Cupidos Express on W. Cleveland.

Jarvis and the Croskys had grown up together in St. Johns. Neither had ever been in a partnership with anyone, but they found themselves a perfect fit to do business together. The Croskys were a little younger than he and Shauna Lee, but they discovered they were a good fit.

“We both have things that complement each other,” said Jarvis. “One party does not work less than someone else. Neither of us thinks we are entitled. They like to work behind the scenes.”

Their partnership has proven successful, such that they joined forces again in October of last year to buy the Whiting Quick Stop, implementing changes for the better right away.

They had hoped to find someone to lease the kitchen at Whitings where there had been just pizza. Within a month, they opened the grill as Whitings Quick Stop Burger Generation with a menu that offers items not already found in the area. Justin Weller, a former Apache County Deputy Sheriff, designed the menu which encompasses fried chicken, gourmet hot dogs, tilipia, and even an eight ounce steak. Where there was only takeout before, customers now have a choice. Jarvis brought in six tables and 24 chairs to accommodate the customers.

Plans are already on the drawing board for more upgrades at the Quick Stop.

Jarvis says he is always either, “Working on work, or thinking about working on some new scheme.”

In fact when he sold the ice company and the cost of ice went up, Jarvis crushed his own, bagged it and sold it to his customers as a perk for only a dollar.

In 2007 when Mahai Burlea, the first Romanian to get a baseball scholarship, came to Eastern Arizona College, he dated a girl from St. Johns. Burlea worked for Jarvis’ ice company, and through that relationship, Jarvis made his way to Romania and wound up owning a metal fabrication company. He partnered with an Italian who is now Burlea’s brother in law.

“Business under communism is different,” said Jarvis. “It is more of a social experiment. I kind of like the idea of knowing guys are working while I am sleeping, and then I am working while they are sleeping. It is like work is going on 24 hours a day.”

“The business takes care of itself. This year I am looking at importing over here.”

Jarvis has been to Romania several times on behalf of the business, and for pleasure. He loves the castles and history of the Turks and Romans. He has been in Dracula’s castle and likes the smaller castles. He described the feeling of despair one feels as they go down into the dungeons. He loves the salt mines, the old weaponry and the monasteries of the 14th Century with their beautiful mosaics on the wall. He marvels at how through the wars they remain untouched.

On the local level, Jarvis, like most of the folks in St. Johns, dabbles a bit in farming. He has 20 acres grows alfalfa, has cows and chickens and tractors, and calls it fun.

He and Shauna have six kids, four girls and two boys. The kids are learning about work and small town life from their parents.

The kids do not just go in and get something when they go in to either of the businesses.

“If they want something, they can work for it,” said Jarvis. “They learn to work here. If they come in, they have to pay like everybody else for what they want.”

Mom is also a good example. Not only is Shauna Lee a crafter, but she is known all around for her baking skills. Every other day she makes batches of oatmeal with craisins, cowboy, peanut butter, old fashioned molasses, pudding cookies with M&Ms, and “Cracked Sugar Cookies” for both the Gas-n-Go and the Quick Stop. One cookie is about the size of three regular cookies.

It is said around St. Johns that the guys from Navopache Electric are addicted to those “Crack Sugar Cookies.” They refer to them as just “crack cookies” because they are so addictive. If they go and they have run out of the cookies, there is trouble.

Jarvis is well aware the City of St. Johns depends on the power plant, the government and schools for jobs to survive. The population of St. Johns is 3800.

“I have seen people struggle and have ideas that did not work, and I have seen people come and go.”

“You have to know your area and your customers. We have not re-invented the wheel.”

“We do not sell alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets in our stores, and we shut down on Sundays. The people appreciate it.”

Jarvis welcomes competition. “It makes you stronger, makes for a better community,” said Jarvis.

“If someone else comes in, it just makes me be aware of what I should be doing.”

Though Jarvis will no doubt be thinking of new ways of branching out to make his home-town better for his family, and his neighbors, or anyone passing through, Jarvis’ goal is to “get our kids grown.”

Brad and Shauna Jarvis came back to the right place to do that.

St. Johns is billed at the Town of Friendly Neighbors, a Close Knit, Family First Community.

Living his dream of working for himself, and making a difference in his community for his family and the people who live there, or just pass through, Brad Jarvis has attained success in small town America. Brad Jarvis is a “Mover & Shaper.”