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Interview With Kitchen Tune-Up Tunies - Mike & Kim Damon

Marty Ceranec, long-time Kitchen Tune-Up franchise owner, kindly contributes to our national newsletter and our blog. He calls these an “Interview with a Tunie, By a Tunie.”

This month we visit Nebraska, the Cornhusker State, which is collectively in a state of depression over their beloved Cornhuskers who are experiencing a very down year. Little known fact, I am a Cornhusker also, having been born in Lincoln.  My parents moved before my first birthday so I guess technically I’m only a niblet!

This month I interviewed natives to the state that have been Kitchen Tune-Up franchise owners for three years.  They are Mike and Kim Damon, serving Tri-City Area, NE. It’s a second generation franchise, as Mike & Kim purchased Bill & Doris Klinginsmith’s territory which was operating since 1996.

Q. How did your purchase occur?

A. Bill & Doris did work for my daughter and she told us, “You guys need to buy that business.”  A few years later, Bill & Doris did a Tune-Up in our kitchen, and I mentioned to Bill that I would like right of first refusal when he was ready to sell.  Bill immediately said “I’m ready right now.”  We bought it outright and here we are three years into it.

Q. How is the business going?

A. It’s been a continued learning experience. I was a supervisor at an electric utility company for 38 years, where I was in charge of 50 people.  Even though running our own business is not easy, I don’t have the managerial stress I used to experience.  We are very much in control.

Q. Is that good thing?

A. Kitchen Tune-Up is much more rewarding.  We really enjoy getting paid for doing a kitchen project and seeing the client being really happy.  You do the work, you get a check, and you get a smile!  That’s the best!

Q. I know you’re not in a major city.  How wide is your territory?

A.  Sometimes we have to drive 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours for an appointment, which is very time consuming. When we do the work, we stay overnight in local lodging.

Q. How did you get the word out (advertising and marketing) to that wide of an area?

A. Our main town is Grand Island, Nebraska but we advertise in four different newspapers. We also run TV ads and are active on Facebook. Bill ran a great business and had a great reputation, which really helped us at the start and as a result our referral business is growing quickly.

Q. What services do you provide most often?

A. Our product mix is mainly Tune-Ups and refacing. We have a lot of oak cabinetry in our area, which is great wood for Tune-Ups! 

Q. We have another Reunion coming up in Myrtle Bach, SC. Are you excited?

A. Yes. We are going to take our time driving out and making stops along the way.  The Reunions always rejuvenate us for the new year.  It’s great to see other owners and share stories. Each year we know more and it actually enables us to learn more . . .and Kim can tell Mike what he’s doing wrong!  (Editor’s note:  So what else is new?)

Q. Besides corn on the cob, corn fritters, corn salad and corn chowder, are there any other corn delicacies?

A. I can tell you lost your Cornhusker roots, you little niblet. How can you forget candy corn?

Kim & Mike Damon

Published: by Sarah Eisenbeisz

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