Recently, during our visit to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the IBPI Board of Directors’ Meeting and The Taylor Business Group Big BIG Conference, Mark Grice and I decided to visit a few local IBPI Members to get a first-hand view of where some of our Members conduct business! Our travels took us to Barlop, in Miami, FL.
Barlop was nudged into existence in 1983 from necessity, when Saxon, where Jose worked as a National Parts Manager, closed its doors in the early 80s. Juan Barroso, also a National Parts Manager with Saxon, and Jose, decided to open their own business. They named their company from the “Bar” out of Barroso and the “Lop” out of Lopez; thus, Barlop Business Systems was launched!
Today, Jose Lopez (General Manager) and his daughters, Michele (Supplies and Parts Manager), Monica (Vice President of Business Development), and Mallory (Comptroller), are at the helm of Barlop. Although they started in a 600 square foot space, they have since expanded into 15,000 square feet with 34 employees, 6 of whom are family members! The company services, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties, and carries Lanier, Samsung and HP products, as well as managed print and managed IT services.
Mark and I ran into the Lopez family again at the Taylor Business Group (TBG) Big BIG Conference. One theme encountered repeatedly at this conference is the concept of “company culture.” So, I asked Michele what Barlop’s company culture looks like and how do they reinforce it with their employees?
The Lopez sisters all agree, that working with family “…is the best!” Monica says, “I can’t even imagine not having my sisters and father with me all day.” It seems that this family relationship has expanded into a company family culture. Employee birthdays are celebrated with a cake and pictures are posted on Social Media. Retirees are celebrated with a party, as well! An “Employee of the Quarter” is selected, their picture posted, an award plaque given along with an $100 gift certificate. All nominees for the “Employee of the Quarter” are added in a nomination pool for an “Employee of the Year”. The department managers take a poll from this group of employees and select the “Employee of the Year, ” The winner is given one extra day of vacation and an $100 gift certificate.
Barlop has some sort of fun event every month. Every year, a company picnic is provided at a local park. On Halloween, each department chooses a theme for costumes and a nice lunch is served. For Thanksgiving, a potluck is held after work and all employees bring a homemade dish. Christmas is celebrated at an outside venue the weekend before the 24th. “Feed them and they will come!”
To further increase a Barlop family culture, the employees participate in a Charity Corporate Run. They put up a company tent, close early, and run from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. to support a local charity. They also participate in charity walks which support autism and breast cancer. On Red Nose Day, those big red balls can be found on the smiling faces of Barlop employees. The company brings in food items, sells them and contributes the proceeds to a charity which fights against childhood poverty.
More and more companies like Barlop, are finding that a vital key to a well-run, successful business is employee satisfaction which directly corresponds to work relationships. Dr. Larry Little wrote in his book, Make a Difference: in the lives of those you love, live with and lead, that healthy relationships require an investment. They also require reciprocation, or an ability to give and take. Simply put, if you want a good relationship then you must take responsibility to create a good relationship. Having a healthy relationship is a choice. It is not an emotion. It is choosing to be kind, compassionate, and considerate to those with whom we are in a relationship, whether that relationship is professional or personal.
On May 16, 2018, Barlop celebrated 35 years of business with a special event for their prospects and current customers. The event featured technology stations set at various locations within the building. Each station highlighted services and products which Barlop offers their customers. It was a huge success with 200 people in attendance! Growing a business for 35 years doesn’t happen by accident. Their skills and intentionally-developed tight-knit family culture has created a powerful team! Dr. Little also says, Powerful relationships and powerful teams produce powerful results.” Barlop appears to embody this statement!
IBPI wishes many more successful years of business for Barlop! Thank you for allowing us to visit you. It was our pleasure to see how you “roll!”