John Dowling Interviews

Patricia Polenz Costello’s Hardware Executive & Model Citizen

John: Once again this is John Dowling and I am here with Model Citizen Patricia Polenz. How are you, Patricia?

Patricia: I’m really good John, thank you. How are you?

John: I’m very good. I’m getting ready for the holidays; I just had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I wanted to call you so we could have part two of your interview now that you are well on your way to your new position with Costello Ace hardware. Could you tell us about your job and what you are doing?

Patricia: Sure! I am head of the Real Estate Division and this new division is going to be doing is setting up partnerships with real estate professionals to make them more successful at their jobs. Our goal is to provide services not only to the Real Estate industry but also to the communities where our stores are located. 

John: Talk to us about the kind of services that you have. It is kind of exciting because you really cannot get them anywhere else.

Patricia: Yes, that is true. We differentiate ourselves in a couple of different ways. A lot of people may not realize they can call in an order and we will deliver it if you don’t want to pick it up curbside.

John: What kind of services would you deliver? Doors, windows, or anything else that you have in inventory?

Patricia: Anything.

John: Where do you deliver because there are a bunch of locations in the area?

Patricia: Yes, we do have a lot of locations 33 stores across Long Island and 4 to 5 in New Jersey and Staten Island.

John: Do you deliver to all of Long Island?

Patricia: Yes, we will even deliver sometimes into Queens. We are looking for more locations in Queens, but for all of Long Island we will deliver.

John: That sounds fantastic. Now in addition to parts and things like that you also have some incredibly unique services that you provide, don’t you?

Patricia: Yes, absolutely. We fix window screens. We will come to your home, take the window screens off, bring them to the store and have them fixed. If you look on our website, you will see we have days where we are able to fix the screens right there. If we pick them up, we will bring them back to the home and reinstall them on the window. We also fix glass, so you do not have to get a new window.

John: Do you have like a handyman that goes to people’s houses?

Patricia: Yes, we do. We have a Handyman Service and a Handy-hands service. With Handy-hands, if you need help cleaning out your basement or your shed, or perhaps you are getting ready to move, or you need furniture shifted from one room to another, instead of calling a moving company and paying a lot of money, you could use our Handy-hands service to help you. There is a minimum of only two hours for $39.99 an hour.

John: That is a really good price!

Patricia: Yes, and the difference between using the Handyman service as opposed to Craig’s List is all our employees go through an extensive background check. They are with the company, and we stand behind them,

John: That is especially important. You would not want someone working on your house that doesn’t know what they’re doing. So, you have a Handyman and Handy-hands, as well as parts and product delivery, screen service, and this is all relatively new isn’t it?

Patricia: Yes, it is new. We also have a re-keying service which re-keys your lock, so you don’t have to buy a new one. We also do this for car keys and fobs, which is much cheaper than buying it from your dealer. 

John: That’s really amazing.

Patricia: For the Real Estate industry, we are putting kits together for them so that when they walk into a home and go through a listing with a homeowner or if a mortgage broker is talking to a homeowner, there are different ways that they can inexpensively get a good return on the investment on their home and we are going to show them how to do that. We are also going to have different items for the real estate professionals to give to the homeowners as a gift.

John: Is it a guest list kind of thing?

Patricia: Yes, you could do a gift list which is another convenient offering. The homeowner can put a registry together which could be a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” gift list or it could be for friends and family. For instance, if someone is doing a renovation in the house they could and get the items they need instead of a coffee pot or something like that.

John: There’s a lot of people, when they get married and move into their first home or when they get married for a second time they move into together, so there’s a lot that happens during that time. How long have you been there and what do you think your future is with the company?

Patricia: I just on November 9th. The new programs will be rolled out in New York first, and then we are going to go state by state. It’s a very exciting time with a brand-new division, so the world is kind of my always do right now.

John: So, are you going to potentially bring it out nationwide?

Patricia: That is the intention.

John: That’s great, you must be thrilled!

Patricia: Yes I am. I am very grateful to Costello Ace for giving me this opportunity and choosing me out of all the candidates, it was very exciting. 

John: Yes, but you are very talented also.

Patricia: Thank you, I appreciate that.

John: This is the holiday issue and the final issue for 2020. I am asking many of our Model Citizens what they hope for in 2021. What are you hopeful for in 2021?

Patricia: Oh my, I would say peace. I’m hopeful for things to get back to normal the way they were before Covid with everybody healthy. I hope Covid gets under control and we don’t have another disaster like what we’ve had this past year. I don’t know how many more people can stand much more of this. 

John: It’s been tough for everybody.

Patricia: It has been tough for everyone. I would like to just close this year out and tell the one that’s coming we just want no more of this.

John: Everyone can get vaccinated and we can move on.

Patricia: Yes! Let’s move on and get back to normal, to the way we used to do business. We can still be careful; we’ve learned a lot of good lessons. 

John: John LaSalle had a really good idea if you’re at high risk, then the Federal Government can pay that person to stay home, instead of closing down the economy.

Patricia: I love that idea!

John: Right let’s just keep the people at high risk at home and let them be safe.

Patricia: Yes, absolutely! That’s a great idea.

John: If that happens hopefully people will listen to him because it was a unique idea.

Patricia: It’s really interesting. I’m considered high risk but I’m fairly relaxed. I’m always wearing my mask, more for other people, than for me. I had to get a Covid test yesterday because I’m having a surgical procedure on Wednesday and I came up negative, and I was very thankful.

John: I know you’ve been battling a lot of things this year; you had some losses as well. I’m sure 2021 is going to be a wonderful year for you.

Patricia: I think so I’m praying it’s a wonderful year for everyone

John: Thank you for the interview and good luck in the new position.

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