Many people may be surprised to learn that CCA Global Partners has their own private label flooring products created in-house, thanks to our dedicated product and merchandising teams. This is an integral part of our cooperative business model. It allows us to give our members access to exclusive deals and unique products while maintaining high standards for our production.
A.J. Struttman, the merchandiser of hard surface products, plays a most influential role in this process. Having worked for the company since 2002, A.J. has become an expert on hard surface products with her combined industry knowledge of 19 years.
A.J. entered the business from telecommunications, and she believes that coming to CCA was a positive influence on her career.
"After working in telecommunications for 15 years, I was laid off, and I was looking for a stable company to work for," A.J. said. "CCA provided me just that and so much more. The longevity of [our] employees is beyond amazing. Other companies I've worked for don't have the long-term dedication like CCA; it is definitely a very stable company."
She says that she never finds herself bored since she constantly learns about new products and adapts to changing demands and technology within the flooring industry.
"The main focus in my role would be from the start of a product launch; to review and select new trending products and the follow-through process to the actual production of samples for CCA Global," A.J. said.
As one of the more fun aspects of her job, A.J. is responsible for assigning product sample names and colors.
"I research the hard surface sample names from parks, subdivisions, city streets, and for the colors, we look at the actual product sample and name the color accordingly to describe the product color," A.J. explained. "For example, a color name of Fencepost you would think of a weathered gray color or Saddle for a brown color."
She also enjoys working on the Exhibit Hall floor for convention as she is involved with the setup. A.J. gets to see the dull concrete floors turn into booth setups with beautiful flooring, and according to her, it's a thrill to see it all come together.
Aside from working with products, the highlight of A.J.'s job at CCA is her fellow teammates and staff members.
"The people that work for CCA are so dedicated to serving the members of the cooperative and the culture of the company, and they really care for their employees," A.J. said. "When you see the longevity of the employees in this company, you know this is a great company to work for."
While the ins and outs of her daily job may occasionally be frustrating with wait times on supplier approvals and information from buyers, A.J. always likes to make the most of her workday. A.J.'s favorite quote is "Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation."
As a St. Louis-based team member, A.J. is a huge fan of the St. Louis Blues and Cardinals teams, but beyond her love of sports, she enjoys fishing, rifle hunting, and playing with her new English chocolate lab puppy, Duke.
Looking ahead at the upcoming year, A.J. hopes that the pandemic will only lead to better business models and higher profits for members as consumers continue to shop local.
"With the history breaking purchase volumes by our stores this year, it will be exciting to see how the numbers turnout at the end of the year. Not only are the members going to be happy, but our suppliers are breaking record numbers in purchases as well," she said. "[I hope] that through COVID, our flooring businesses become stronger than ever with continued success through the years to come."