BRETT: One of the areas of this audience that you and Rush appreciated are the owners and those operators of small businesses in this country. Now, in Rush’s honor, you’ve created the Great American Business Award, and you’re taking nominations. How’s the response been so far?
KATHRYN: It’s been huge. We’ve received many, many nominations over these last weeks. As you mentioned in the beginning, Rush wanted to start this, actually, at the start of this year. But, unfortunately, he couldn’t. So he wanted to recognize small businesses throughout the country that really make our country work, and so we’re continuing it on in his honor. But the response has been quite overwhelming and wonderful at the same time.
BRETT: You’re gonna be recognizing another business with an award today. And before we do that, we’re gonna speak with a couple of these folks. And I’d like to bring one of them on right now if that’s okay with you, Kathryn. Jon Cartwright is joining us from Zimmerman Meats in Summersville, Missouri. Welcome to the program, Jon. Good to have you here with Kathryn Limbaugh.
JON: Thank you. Thank you all for having me on. It’s quite an honor.
KATHRYN: Hello, Jon. Nice speaking to you today. I know that your wife Lindsey sent in a nomination on your behalf. So if you could, tell us a little bit about your business and how you started and where it’s grown over the years.
JON: Sure. I’d be happy to. My brother Josh and I purchased Zimmerman Meats back in 2016, and we have taken the business since 2016 — it was a meat-processing business, we had a small retail store in Summersville — and we’ve gone from about 12 to 14 employees. Today, we’ve done some expansion. We’ve added some stores, some retail stores, and we have three locations now, three retail stores plus the processing plant in Summersville. About 40 employees is where we reside today. So that’s, in a nutshell, what we have going.
KATHRYN: That’s good. And why did you start a small business? I know that you were in corporate America and decided to leave that world and start your own. Why did you do that?
JON: When I was in corporate America, I spent about nine years doing that, and I just felt like it was a job. I wasn’t really making an impact. And, sure, I had a job and I had a role to do every day. But there wasn’t… To see the employees that we employ and the families that we provide a living for is quite rewarding to Josh and I and our spouses.
We enjoy that, and our retail stores are quite unique in that we’re not interested in the stuffy, Big Retail-type settings. We’re all about having a store that people are… It’s more of a destination. People want to come to Zimmerman stores, because they’re gonna get service with a smile. It’s not a dreaded trip to the grocery store —
JON: — and so that is so rewarding to be able to see our employees interact with our customers and do it in a manner that you don’t see in large, corporate retail establishments. We don’t have self-checkouts. We don’t have stuff like that. We have friendly faces that our customers can come in and see day in and day out, and that’s quite rewarding for us.
BRETT: I understand, sir, that you were so inspired by Rush to go out and get a piece of the pie that you have four children ages two to nine and that the youngest is named Rush Henry Cartwright. Is that true?
JON: Yes, sir. That is correct. My wife and I both are huge Rush fans and were Rush Babies growing up and have listened to him all of our lives, and he’s had such a profound impact on our lives. And his love for this country and his listeners was like none that I can explain. But the love that we felt from Rush… We never knew him personally, but we knew he loved his listeners and he most definitely loved this country. And, yes, our youngest is 2 years old — we have four children — and we did name him after Rush Limbaugh.
BRETT: Amazing. Kathryn, this is an amazing story.
BRETT: We want to wish you good luck on this, Jon. Stick around. We’ve gonna have the reveal coming up here shortly.
BRETT: And I’m thrilled to be here today with Kathryn Limbaugh as we are visiting with some of the Great American Business Award finalists joining us here on the Rush Limbaugh Show. Kathryn, we were visiting with Jon Cartwright from Zimmerman Meats in Summersville, Missouri, when we ran up against that hard break and we’ve held Jon over on the program to continue the conversation. Kathryn, I know you wanted to ask him a question.
KATHRYN: Yes, Jon, it’s incredible that you named your son after Rush, and I know he’s smiling, thinking about that right now. But I wanted to ask you just a little bit more about your business —
KATHRYN: — in terms of how you started and what you might have encountered in challenges. Because your wife wrote a quote that said, “I’m so proud of my husband for not listening to the naysayers that told him he can’t do it.” What would you say about the challenges that you faced starting a small business?
JON: It’s a big risk. It’s a leap. I left corporate America and had a very good wage. I was providing for my family, and we went from that to, essentially, we didn’t know. It was a world of unknown. So there’s a lot of people that are sitting in corporate America today that are thinking about taking that step, but it’s hard. It’s very hard.
So when she mentioned the naysayers. We have a lot of people in our life that would have said, “No, don’t leave a safe job to go on this journey,” but it has been such a blessing to our families and to our employees. As far as the problems — and, you know, there’s a lot of — it’s not an 8-to-5 job — you know, where my brother and I are constantly talk and trying to hone our business.
And it may be a Saturday, a Sunday, a Monday, whatever. It may be early in the morning or late at night. So you don’t ever just get to turn the clock out and leave, and that is a challenge. But it’s so rewarding. And having a good group of people behind you as your employees, it just — which we have. We’re so thankful for the committed employees that we have, and they make our lives a lot easier.
KATHRYN: Well, good for you, Jon. I know that you’re an exact example of what Rush was looking for in terms of wanting to honor American small businesses. So wonderful. Great, great sorry.
JON: I appreciate that. I really appreciate the opportunity to be on with you all. Like I said, Rush has been a lifelong example for my wife and I.
KATHRYN: Well, thank you, and say hi to your Rush for us.
JON: (laughing) We will. We sure will.
BRETT: Thank you so much, Jon. We appreciate you being there and holding over into this segment. Kathryn, what do you say we check in with our second finalist? This is Julie Welch, Oak Knolls Manor out of Caledonia, New York. Julie is on the line with us. Kathryn, this is Julie Welch, and she started her business in 2019 by her and her husband. It’s a woman-owned business, and her husband backed her vision. Welcome to the show, Julie.
JULIE: Hi. Thank you for having me! Hi, Kathryn.
KATHRYN: Hello, Julie! It’s great to talk to you today. We loved your nomination. If you could, tell us a little bit, briefly, about your business and how it started.
JULIE: Absolutely. My husband and I would drive out on Caledonia road to church every Sunday, and there’s a beautiful property there, and we’d always drive by and say, “Oh, gosh, if only we could own that,” and it came up for sale by owner, and my husband and I went up and we ended up making an offer that night — which was crazy, because (laughing) he’s working three jobs to keep me home.
I’m a four mother of four. I was listening to Rush all the time, kind of just to stick one foot in the door of what’s going on in the world and he would simplify it so you could understand and keep abreast of the current events and, you know, the trends, the politics, and all of it. So my husband would come home and say, “What did Rush have to teach you today?”
And we’d start chuckling. And he would go to work and I would head out to the barn. It’s a (unintelligible) barn that was built in the early 1900s. There’s only 40 of them left in the area. They’re called like a country cathedral, and it was chock full of stuff. I would start cleaning and I’d have Rush on and often I’d just start laughing out loud at some of the comments that he would say ’cause he was so humorous.
And needless to say, we knew the venue needed to be share or the barn needed to be shared with other people because it’s such an icon. It’s good for something. It’s good for all the hard work that went into the building of it back in the early 1900s. It became kind of a passion, and my husband was able to leave one of his jobs.
So he would start working with me on it, and he kind of had the business mind. I was (unintelligible). But we kind of fricked and fracked through the process and then we ended up turning it into an event venue and having to go through all the codes and, you know, we wanted to pull it up a few times because it just seemed too impossible. But we just kept persevering, and Rush was a big part of that perseverance.
KATHRYN: Good for you. That’s wonderful. Now, how many events are you having? Is it a tough time with covid right now or are you able to still open up?
JULIE: You know, it’s fascinating. A lot of events moved last year. We had five small events that stayed. But this summer, we have 20 events. We only do one a weekend because we want people to really enjoy their family and slow down because it feels like this world just moves so fast.
It’s kind of like, back to center, back to enjoying family and life. And we are booking for the well, and we only have five seats available. So it’s fascinating to me that through a pandemic, people are still holding out hope and want to live and want to celebrate those magical moments in their lives.
KATHRYN: Good. Good. From the pictures that you sent in, it looks absolutely beautiful. Did you do a lot of refurbishment of the original land and the original building?
JULIE: A hundred percent. It was falling down. It was… You know, we really took it one step at a time. I mean, it’s such a monster that you couldn’t see the whole vision. And it took a lot of different people that would come in to fix something or help with something and then maybe they would have a (unintelligible), “Hey, have you thought about this?” And, you know, the next thing you’re on to the next little steppingstone. And it just kind of kept falling, you know, before us, and we just kept persevering. It was not fun doing the foundation, but the best day was hanging the chandeliers. (laughing)
KATHRYN: I know that you thank Rush a lot in your nomination here, and it’s beautiful to see that he provided you such strength and exposition, and hopefully we can to others listening today who are hoping to smart a small business or wanting to. So great for you.
JULIE: Thank you, and Rush truly was an inspiration and his hearing loss, you know, our daughter lost her hearing due to a virus just kind of out of the blue. And it was around the same time Rush lost his hearing. And it was so great to hear Rush getting on the radio and persevering through hearing loss and the challenges of wearing a cochlear implant.
And she now wears two cochlear implants and is finishing her master’s degree. But again, you know, Rush with his perseverance gave us strength to go, “We can get through this. We’re not gonna let this define our daughter. She needs to realize that, you know, you can do something if you stick your mind to it and work hard.”
KATHRYN: That’s really great to hear. How old is she now?
JULIE: Mary is 22 years old and fishing her master’s degree at St. Bonaventure University.
KATHRYN: Oh, good for you.
JULIE: Yeah, we’re really proud.
BRETT: It’s an amazing story. It’s remarkable.
JULIE: Thank you. Well, Rush is a big part of it, and one of the other things that he said — if I have one more second — I remember the day he came on the radio and said, “Be the best that you are. So if you’re a homemaker, be the best homemaker. If you’re a plumber, be the best plumber you can be. If you’re a candidate, be the best.” Honestly, it stuck with me, and every time I felt tired and didn’t feel I could go on, I thought of those words, and it really helped my husband and I to persevere.
KATHRYN: That is exactly right. He always wanted people to find their passions and pursue what was right to them. And in your case, this is a beautiful place. We’ll definitely put it up on the website so people can see the pictures that I’m looking at. But it’s called Oak Knolls Manor, LLC.
BRETT: And that’s Julie Welch. Julie, thank you so much for coming by and being a part of this today, and best of luck as we work through our finalists. Thank you for coming by.
JULIE: Excellent. Thank you so much, Kathryn, and we all love you and we love Rush.
KATHRYN: Thank you so much, Julie. God bless.
BRETT: Take care, Julie. Kathryn, we have a third and final finalist here. I think to be fair, we’re gonna get a break in here and then come back and visit with Patty Kline, who is with Sittler Golf, something that’s very passionate… (laughing) Rush was very passionate about golf, no doubt, and we’ll sit with Patty Kline coming up here next I am Brett Winterble alongside Kathryn Limbaugh as we are celebrating the best in the Great American Business Award.
BRETT: The third finalist that we have, Kathryn — it’s so wonderful to be with you today — is Patty, Patty Kline from Sittler Golf. And how about this for beginning line. Patty was first introduced to Rush while a young 27-year-old from New Jersey, working for the New Jersey Commission for the Blind, driving a state vehicle that only had AM radio in the car. Patty Kline, welcome.
PATTY: Oh, thank you so much for having me. Kathryn, it’s such an honor to speak with you. Rush was such an exposition for my husband and I through this journey.
KATHRYN: Oh, wonderful. It’s nice to speak to you as well. Tell us if you could, in a few minutes, about how you started your company. You know that Rush absolutely loves golf and loved golf.
PATTY: I know. When I first heard that he started playing and then his passion for it was just amazing for us. We were like, “Yes, he’s into golf. This is amazing!” But it’s funny. My husband and I met at Kutztown University and moved away, and about 10 years later, he met the owner of our property in Kutztown before he moved to a bigger property, and he came home one day — we had two little boys, and we were doing very well.
He was director of golf for Marriott, and he came home to me and he said, “You know what? Do you remember that driving range in Kutztown? I think I want to buy it” (laughing) and I was like, “Oh. Yeah, I don’t remember it. But we’ll take a look at it,” and so we thought, “We’re 29, we’re young, and we have time to take a risk,” and it turned out to be a wonderful experience for us, and we’re in a great place and a successful business, and we owe a lot of it to Rush’s words of wisdom. The biggest one for me was “burning the midnight oil.”
KATHRYN: That’s right.
PATTY: Every time I heard that, I was like, “Okay. We’re not alone in this. There’s other people staying up ’til midnight and beyond.”
KATHRYN: Exactly, and when you want to give up, don’t, ’cause you hear Rush in your ears saying, “Don’t give up.” That’s exactly right.
PATTY: Oh, there were so many times, and we’d wake up the next morning and be like, “Nope. You know what? We need to move on,” and it was just nice to hear, “Yes, you can do it. You know, if you persevere, if you have patience — and faith is a big thing for us, and all of those and above really helped us to get through all the highs and lows.
KATHRYN: So I see in your nomination here that you were nominated by Golf Digest as the best hundred club fitters?
KATHRYN: Oh, that’s great.
PATTY: Yeah, and that really was what launched us to the next level. So we had a property in Kutztown, which is 14 acres, and in 2011, we were named one of Golf Digest’s best 100 fitters. It was their inaugural award, and we’ve earned it each year since, and that helped us to purchase our new property, which is now 24 acres. And the building is three times the size of the building we had in Kutztown, and we were in the process of hiring about five more new full-time, year-round people. So we’re really proud of that. And, yeah, it’s just… That really helped us take off.
KATHRYN: Good for you — and tell us the name, again, of your company.
PATTY: It’s Sittler Golf.
KATHRYN: That’s great. In Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania?
PATTY: Sinking Spring, yeah. We used to be in Kutztown, and now it’s Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania.
BRETT: Well, a remarkable story. Pursuing the passion — burning the midnight oil, Kathryn, as she said.
KATHRYN: (laughs) Yeah.
BRETT: That’s just a huge part of this.
KATHRYN: That’s right.
PATTY: Yes. Absolutely. (chuckles)
BRETT: Well, Patty and Rick Kline, we appreciate you joining us here. We wish you good luck and all the best in this pursuit. We all know how much Rush loved golf, and it was just a passion, and it’s a passion for millions of people. Thank you for joining us today and good luck.
PATTY: Thank you so much for having me! Thank you.
BRETT: Thank you, Patty. Kathryn, we have three beautiful stories.