Feeling the heat? Go to Gunnison, a county seat in Colorado whose location (30 miles west of the Continental Divide) and height (7,700 feet above sea level) mean the average high hits just 75 degrees Fahrenheit in August. There, three lumberyards hustle for business, even though the county has just 14,300 residents and is nearly 80% federal land. But Roxie Rule is used to hard work. She has been part of Western Lumber for 32 years: the first 29 while her parents ran the place, and the last three managing the office. Here's how Roxie keeps things hopping at this 10-person, $2.5 million operation:
Put In the Hours. "I come to work at 6 a.m. That gives me a chance to make the coffee, get the cash, reconcile?anything that takes more than 15 minutes to do, I do then. I'm usually here until we close at 5 p.m."
Heads Up. "In my office [located about 15 feet from the cash registers], I try to look up every so often and see who's there. Then sometimes I think, 'I haven't seen such-and-such contractor for a while...' "
Watch for Gossip. "You've got to have patience. In our little county, if you make one customer mad and he goes to the trough and has a few beers with everyone else, you can have half your customer base mad at you."
Dealing with Sexism. "You'll get a phone call and they ask to talk to a man. What really makes me happy is that we had two men working here, and eventually they'd say, 'I'm going to have you talk to Roxie because she's been here for 32 years.' The caller would say, 'Oh, I didn't know that you knew what you were talking about.' They thought the female voice makes me stupid."