In her own words: Verna Thomas of A Custom Refinish
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about A Custom Refinish and the duties of your position.
Verna Thomas: My business is called A Custom Refinish. We specialize in the repair and refinishing of bathtubs, sinks, cabinets and countertops. Basically we remodel without replacement and try to use only green products. My duties include everything, but the work load is a lot, even in a small business. My spouse Tim does all the actual work, and he is amazing.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Thomas: My brother-in-law got the company from someone he worked for. It was going under, so we were able to buy it at a very low price from him.
NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned as a small business owner?
Thomas: Never have partners.
NNBW: What are the biggest challenges you hope to overcome in 2013?
Thomas: The challenges we face are with growth there is so much opportunity out there, but we don’t have the capital to take advantage of it yet.
NNBW: How will you accomplish those goals?
Thomas: Lots of hard work and getting in touch with various programs in our community that help small businesses.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Thomas: I became a certified nurses aide at 16. I was a teen mom, and I had to support my baby.
NNBW: What’s your dream job, and why aren’t you working it?
Thomas: I am working it. I spent the last 10 years studying every aspect of business I could, attended every seminar and listened to many speakers all without a plan on what sort of business I was looking to start.
NNBW: What’s the most fun you have had on the job?
Thomas: I absolutely love to meet new people and help our customers pick their colors and make their homes look great.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Thomas: Expect to work for free in a new business. My grandfather said, “You’re never going to succeed unless you try.”
NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?
Thomas: I love to read, but I do not have much time for hobbies right now. I have six kids, so my time is all devoted to them.
NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Thomas: To not trust people so much, and take the advice not to get business partners.
NNBW: What do you consider to be your biggest professional accomplishment?
Thomas: Building this business we have really grown in the last year.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Thomas: A doctor.
NNBW: What are five things you can’t live without?
Thomas: My spouse, my kids, books, other people and education.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Thomas: There’s no way I would retire right now; there’s still too much I have planned for my business. There’s so many people that have no idea of their options when wanting to fix up their house.
NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?
Thomas: Vacation? What’s that? No, really on a tropical island away from here.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Thomas: I grew up in northern Nevada and feel we have the best of all worlds. Reno is city big enough to be 24 hour and still small enough that we all are connected and look out for each other.
Name: Verna Thomas, owner, A Custom Refinish LLC
How long in this job? 1.5 years
How long in this profession? 3 years
Education: Some college
Last book read? “Habits of the Wealthy” by Bill Byrne
Favorite movie? “The Notebook” (of course, I’m a girl)
What’s on your iPod? Nickelback, Metallica, pretty much a wide range of music, mostly what my teenagers have in the computer
Spouse, kids or pets? Spouse Tim, six kids ages 21 (in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan currently) down to age 1. I have five boys and one girl.
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The cancelation of the 2020 event “severely affected operating revenue,” according to the Great Reno Balloon Race.