Meet Ashley Stuhr of Legacy Purchasing Group in North Fort Worth
Today we would like to introduce you to Ashley Stuhr.
Ashley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m from a small town east of Dallas/Fort Worth called Quitman, Tx and moved to College Station to attend Texas A&M University, where I received a Business-Finance degree. My career started out in the finance industry with Fidelity Investments.
A great company to work for but after a few years, I realized this was not my “calling” for a long-term career. I spent some time in other sales and marketing positions after that. My last corporate job was with Office Depot’s Business Division where I got to travel all over the U.S. to meet so many people and businesses. In my last few years at Office Depot, I had the privilege of working with Group Purchasing Organizations that focused specifically on the healthcare industry. There were so many healthcare facilities that benefited from the GPO’s and it was rewarding to see.
I always knew at some point in my journey, I would have my own company… it was just figuring out what that company would be.
After spending years of contemplating different ideas, my husband came to me one day and said, “why don’t you start your own GPO?” I had great relationships with those healthcare GPO’s and learned a lot about how they operate and work with their members. After that moment, I started my research and preparation to start the company.
You always want to do as much prep ahead of time so I spent a lot of that talking to other businesses outside of the healthcare space and realized there was an opportunity to help those businesses.
Most were not familiar with GPO’s but loved the concept and advantages it brought to them. So, at that moment, I made it my goal to help as many businesses as I could with this business model and start Legacy Purchasing Group.
There are HUGE risks starting your own business, especially during the first few years. Stepping away from a dependable salaried job and into the unknown is scary. You are going to go through a time where you are not going to make money. It could be years.
Be prepared to adjust your lifestyle financially. Any revenue you generate while building your company, put it back into the business. You are also going to make mistakes… that is okay. You want to make mistakes early so you can learn from them.
Be patient with yourself and others who are supporting your venture.
Success doesn’t happen overnight.
Getting through those many hurdles and doing what you are passionate about will get you closer to those big rewards!
I officially launched and introduced the Legacy Purchasing Group in 2017. “Legacy” means a lot of things to me but the key reason behind the name is to do good business with others and make an impact…create a Legacy.
My goal as a woman-owned business is to be able to control who Legacy Purchasing Group partners with and what I can do to give back to the community. I want to create a Legacy for my family, employees, and the businesses we work with.
The most rewarding part is helping other businesses create their own Legacy for themselves and their employees!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road. I follow Gary Vaynerchuck and one of the things he says is quit talking about doing something… take the risk and do it! It takes a collaborative effort with your family to make the decision to leave a stable career and jump into the unknown. One of the main struggles starting any new venture is the finances and costs to start a business.
Are you prepared to sustain your living expenses for at least three years without an income? Are you prepared to still contribute to your retirement savings? Are you prepared to pay more in health insurance? Do you have funding/cash flow to cover your expenses for overhead, marketing, and any other needs? There are a lot of factors that you must take into consideration but if you are passionate about what you do, you can find a way. Just remember to think about the big picture and long-term rewards.
Making mistakes is part of the growing process.
Legacy Purchasing Group would not be where we are today without those mistakes. You learn from them. We spent a lot of time finding the right vendor/supplier partners. I want to make sure each of them has the same core values as we do… Do Good Business.
At the end of the day, they are representing our company and helping our members. The most important thing I tell myself every day is to stay confident and work hard, knowing that you will succeed. Be a mentor to those working with you as well! It is not just about the success of the company but the impact you have on others!
Please tell us about Legacy Purchasing Group.
We are a woman-owned, group purchasing organization with large buying power, giving us leverage to negotiate competitive contracts with national suppliers. Most businesses that we work with are typically using a product or service that our supplier partners offer but are not getting access to the discounts and services they deserve.
Through our contracts, businesses get access to pricing as if they are a Fortune 500 company. Our supplier partners work directly with the business. We are merely providing them the cost savings opportunities. There is no cost or obligation to use any of our programs. That is what we are most proud of… being able to share our contracts to others without having a minimum spend requirements or bogged down by a contract.
Our supplier partners are national, so we serve businesses across the entire U.S. We also have affinity programs for groups and associations. This is a great way to enhance their memberships.
Yes, we have solutions and programs for businesses as a group purchasing organization but what sets us apart is we carefully vet out who we work with on the vendor/partner side.
Our core values and standards of doing good business have to be something our partner’s value as well. Our members work directly with the vendor but at the end of the day, our reputation is on the line.
We also have a great social media platform that provides a variety of free resources for businesses and their employees. We are not just focused on our specific solutions but connecting them to the right place so they can stay successful.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I believe God plays the credit for where I am today. Things do happen for a reason. They may not necessarily fall in place like a perfect puzzle but over time, you realize why there were roadblocks and hurdles along the way.
You learn from those and grow stronger from it. My husband would be another person I would like to thank and give credit to. He has been the biggest supporter of encouraging me to start this company years ago.
It takes a lot of careful planning and thought when making the decision to start a new venture and the only way it can be possible is if your family is on board with you. My children have been patient and understanding. I certainly could not be where I am today without their support.