When a Colorado business owner found his company stagnating, he wasn’t really sure what to do. His help came when he began helping others.
L&R Pallet Company makes a simple product, but with a very important destiny. Pallets transport most of what we use every day, but they serve an even greater purpose for second-generation business owner James Ruder.
“We had a tremendous amount of turnover, like 300 to 400 percent turnover, meaning we hired six to seven people a week to staff the place,” Ruder told CBN News.
“We reached a place in time where I felt this business couldn’t grow, and it was from a staffing perspective. I couldn’t see the possibility of expanding and taking on extra responsibility because we were having a hard time getting people to come to the front door,” he explained.
“At the same time as God’s working on me and tenderizing me, I decided to look at the refugee community as a possible source or stream for employees.”
Ruder’s company went from stagnation to a vibrant, thriving business that started with seven refugees from Burma and grew to 81. These loyal, grateful employees have given the company a new focus: people.
“What we decided to do by pouring into the people actually turned out to show up on the bottom line,” Ruder continued. “Not only did our culture change, but profitability changed. It was a moment in time where I felt God kissed me on the forehead and said, ‘Silly boy, that didn’t just happen; these aren’t just coincidences. I have My hand on you and there’s a plan.'”
“It was very exciting to start to see my relationship with Him work that way,” Ruder said.
Over time, L&R Pallet Company evolved to factory of hope, filled with self-reliant, confident men who otherwise would be living in poverty.
“I have been here one year,” an employee named Htoo Htoo told CBN News. “I think about the opportunities here. The boss gives us opportunity. They let us get here from Burma, so I love it! They pay good money so they gives [sic] to us [a] good job. He’s a good boss.”
Ruder said he encourages his employees to talk their problems over.
“A lot of times business owners want you to leave your problems at home, give you hard day’s work and leave,” Ruder continued. “And I used to be that way. But now we actually encourage them to bring their problems and what don’t you understand and what are you confused about.”
The company helps its employees with their personal lives.
“We bring in lenders to improve their credit and understand how to establish credit,” Ruder explained. “We’re helping them buy homes. I’m getting them involved in the Affordable Housing programs here in Colorado, and we’re fumigating their homes for them because they’re in low income areas, because they got different kinds of bugs and stuff. And these are ministry opportunities for us to go in and do something.”
The thankful employees hope to stay with the company as long as they can.
“So he takes care of us from [the] refugee camp, so we love him,” Htoo Htoo said. “I think maybe [we] work here for 30 years, maybe more than that!”
Ruder asked God to do His will.
“What I started to do is pray to the owner of this company and said, ‘Lord, bring to my company who You want to work here, who You want to have refuge,” he said. “I feel very blessed that the Burmese people have been introduced…into my company and I can go right outside my office door and impact families and lives and make a difference.”
When Ruder’s father started the business in 1974, he had no idea it would become a place of refuge, producing more than pallets by giving people hope.
Source: CBN News
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