VINTON–One Roanoke County business has added another item to its benefits package: hope.
Magnets USA, a promotional marketing company in Vinton, announced to its 93 full-time and seasonal employees on September 8 that they are partnering with Vinton nonprofit The Advancement Foundation (TAF) to offer a 15-week coaching program.
According to a press release from Laura Richards, Marketing Communications Coordinator at Magnets USA, “Components of the Excel Coaching Program will include on-site office hours, one-on-one counseling on home ownership and credit repair, developing small business goals and connecting employees to community resources. It will work to supplement Magnets USA’s ongoing wellness program, which focuses on improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of each employee.”
“Buying a house or car and planning a financial future can be complicated and stressful,” said Dale Turner, founder and president of Magnets USA. “So I’m excited that we’re adding a mentoring program to help our employees achieve their life goals. We really try to enhance the quality of life for everyone at Magnets USA.”
Launched in 2007 by President Annette Patterson, The Advancement Foundation is a Vinton-based organization which helps citizens increase their financial assets, personal knowledge and overall health.
“I want to help people achieve their dreams, whatever those dreams are,” said Patterson, who will counsel Magnets USA employees each week. TAF has not offered a program of this capacity anywhere else.
“What I really like about this is you’ve got people who have demonstrated interest in moving forward,” said Patterson. “They’ve got a job and they’ve got the support of [Magnets USA]. So I think the success ratio is going to be very high.”
Kelly Green, Magnets USA’s human resources and accounting manager, believes that if the program — which has been in the works for about a year — inspires just one employee, the effort will be well worth it.
“This program is going to give people hope who maybe don’t know how to find hope without someone with the resources [Annette’s] got,” Green said.
If the program sees success at Magnets USA, Green hopes other local businesses will adopt it.
“There’s a really great need for the resources she’s offering,” Green said. “So many times, you see a small business grow and grow and grow, and somewhere along the way, they maybe lose that helping aspect.”
Richards says that, within one hour of the company’s announcement, all six time slots for the first office hours were filled. One of those to sign up was Margaret Hatchett, a Magnets USA marketing consultant.
“I hope to get a push,” said Hatchett, who dreams of starting a bakery business and saving enough money for two down payments. “If I have somebody who’s putting effort into me, it’ll make me put more effort into it.”
Magnets USA, founded in 1990 by Dale Turner, is the industry leader in promotional calendars, sports schedules and other magnetic marketing items, largely for the real estate industry. In 2014, Magnets USA launched LifeLong Cutlery, a premier brand of engraved knives and other personalized kitchen products.
Locally, Magnets USA is a sponsor for the Salem Red Sox, the Drumstick DASH, the Roanoke Railyard Dawgs and the Virginia Commonwealth Games.
According to Green, Patterson will be addressing many different needs of the staff, but resources for home buying and starting a business are the top areas of interest among employees at this time.
As for how the project came about, Green says, “Annette originally contacted us concerning some office furniture we wanted to donate. She and I kept in touch and started talking about all the different programs the Foundation was offering. Anette came to our location to do sort of a lunch time information session. Basically she wanted to let folks know that the Advancement Foundation was here in Vinton and that she had some really great programs that might benefit some of our staff.”
“She told me about her idea for this program that day and I expressed how great the need was for some of our staff,” said Green. “We have been working on getting the program launched since then. We are so thrilled that things have come together and it’s happening. Our staff is really excited about all the resources and programs Annette has available.”
“I am really hoping this pilot program will be a huge success, that we can help some of our staff achieve some goals, and that perhaps other businesses in the area will also jump on board to lift up their staff members as well,” Green added.