CEO of Markham, Ont.-based office furniture procurement and logistics firm Summerlee Office Solutions Ltd.
BEAT THE 1990-91 RECESSION
TAP THE BUDGETS OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
What do you do when a recession hits? Buy the company you work for, of course. In 1991, Norine Bevan didn’t let the economic downturn change her decision to buy out Summerlee’s founder. But would there still be a company by the time she could complete the purchase? “When there’s no confidence in the economy, we’re the first to get hit,” says Bevan of the office-furniture business. She made up for installations that clients put on hold by focusing on business development in segments Summerlee had previously ignored but whose budgets are stable through a downturn, such as education and government prospects. Thanks to the nimble shifting, Bevan was able to complete the purchase of Summerlee in 1993, and came out of the recession with annual growth rates of more than 10%.