On the Sands of Time

By Carol Gifford

Article originally posted at: http://www.greatercharlottebiz.com/article.asp?id=1075
Also published in the August 2010 issue of Greater Charlotte Biz Magazine

Longevity is a theme at Barefoot and Company. The company operates on the same principles as families—values, integrity, accountability and a strong work ethic—and never forgetting your roots.

That’s by design, says David Barefoot, president and CEO of Barefoot and Company, the leading supplier of specialty products to the building industry in Charlotte and customers in a 100-mile radius, and one of only a very few suppliers who have successfully completed NHQ Certification in the Charlotte area.

Barefoot and Company provides superior specialty products and service at competitive prices. The family-owned company furnishes and installs shower doors, mirrors and glass, wire shelving and custom closets, windows and screens, door hardware, bath accessories, interior blinds, shades and shutters. The company serves three different customer groups: builders, remodelers and homeowners.

Founder Bob Barefoot was well-known in the Charlotte market and left a company legacy of hard work, honest prices and standing behind his products for his family and employees, says son David. Bob fostered a spirit of entrepreneurship and encouraged his children and grandchildren to work with the company and try out new business practices.

“We’ve been around for 39 years; the third generation of family members are working here now,” says David, who adds there are six family members in the 50-person employee list. “My father was born and raised in Charlotte. I was, too. I started working with my father at age 17 and learned the business from the ground up. I’ve never worked anywhere else.”

The family also has a well-established mantra: “If you treat your employees better than your best customer, you don’t have to worry about your best customer.” David carries through with an open door policy to all employees. “This is very important to us,” says David, “because our employees make Barefoot what it is.”
 
A Firm Footing

In some ways, says David, the company has come “full circle.” During the gas/energy crunch of the mid-70s, storm windows and doors became a big product line for Barefoot.

“Now, we’re replacing windows that we installed 30 years ago—the same windows that I installed in my early years of working at Barefoot,” says David.

Through it all—some trying times and today’s recession – the company has worked hard to do things right, says David, by continuing its mission of working hard and paying attention to customer needs.

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