The recession that began in the late 2000s was personal for Stefanie Overturf.
Soon after it began, in 2008, Overturf was laid off from her marketing position at the Bradenton Herald, a daily newspaper in Manatee County. “I was devastated and scared, and I didn’t know what I was going to do,” says Overturf, a Bradenton native and Palmetto High School graduate. “I felt rejected, and I didn’t want people to know I had been laid off.”
Overturf quickly shifted gears. Through an aunt she found work cleaning houses, picking up extra jobs. That led to more business, and then to an opportunity, when Overturf heard from several clients who said they couldn’t find reliable carpet cleaning service. That’s when Overturf decided to start a floor and fabric care business with her husband, Jeremy Overturf.
The Bradenton-based company has since grown from startup to seven employees, and it covers a wide region of the Gulf Coast, from Venice to Brandon. One of the early keys to the success, says Stefanie Overturf, beyond lots of hours and work, was hiring a business coach that preached a big focus on profitability figures.
In 2015, after several strong years of revenue growth, Overturf’s Floor & Fabric Care even made an acquisition: It bought Sarasota-based carpet cleaning company Greenway Carpet Inc. Just like Overturf’s, Greenway has won several chamber and Angie’s List awards for service and reliability.
Overturf says one of the toughest challenges she faces now is hiring, in terms of recruiting and retaining top employees. She also spends a good deal of time handling marketing and wooing bigger accounts.
That kind of hustle and bustle suits Overturf, given how she lost one corporate job when she had just turned 25. Starting her business, was scary at first, she adds, but now it’s empowering to control her own financial future.
— Mark Gordon
Name: Stefanie Overturf
City of residence: Ellenton
Twitter handle: @cleaningmanatee and @chicamarie83
Employer: Overturf's Floor & Fabric Care
Title: Co-Owner, Sales & Marketing Director
Years on the Gulf Coast: 31 (I lived in St. Louis, Mo., for 2 years)
Marital status/children: Married for 12 years with 1 fur baby; our Puggle Harley
Alma mater: Palmetto High School
Best place to network: Morning and lunchtime networking events are the best for me. I'm the Director of the Bradenton SWAT (Successful Women Aligning Together) networking group and that has been a tremendous avenue for building my network.
Coolest business experience: Its an overall feeling. Seeing a company that we started from zero grow to what we have today with 7 employees is definitely a cool experience.
Messy desk or clean workspace: MESSY!
Best business lesson ever learned: You can't be all things to all people.
A website that makes your job easier: Google!
Community group you’re most involved with: SWAT, Manatee Chamber, Just for Girls
Favorite off-hours activity: Going to theme parks.
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Zig Ziglar and Gwen Stefani. There are stories behind each of those ;)
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: This is going to sound crazy but I think it would be a lot of fun to be a Cruise Director.
Top item on your bucket list: Spend a month in Europe with one place as my homebase while traveling to different destinations.
Skill you’d like to learn: I can sew a little but would love to be a Seamstress.
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Katherine Heigl
If I had a magic wand I’d: Teleport to different destinations during the day. For instance, after checking in at the office in the morning, I would teleport to Santorini for the day and be back in time for dinner.