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Featured Studio Owner

Home Video Studio Columbia
Home Video Studio -

Date: 08/07/2014

The legend of the “Cheyenne Dog Soldiers” is the story of a very select band of Native American warriors. So “sold out” to victory were they that, when defending their place and their people, they tied themselves to a stake – making a retreat impossible.

Home Video Studio is populated with many who believe this “whatever it takes” attitude is vital for success in life, in relationships, and certainly in business. We’ve never seen a new Home Video Studio owner sign the paperwork, shake hands, and then boldly declare, “I’m going to really put my heart into this – at least until the going gets tough!” Everyone wants to think they have the pluck to reach their goals.

One of our “whatever it takes” studios belongs to Joe and Anna Yurick, our August Studio Owners of the Month from Columbia, MD. For nearly six years they have demonstrated this inherent tenacity of winners. Both of them agree that it’s the most important thing in their lives. "You’ve got to stick with it," says Anna. Joe adds, "Don't give up when things get bumpy...make a plan and stick to it!”

To show that this isn’t just “happy clappy talk” let’s start our story at the beginning of their adventure – the day they signed on as HVS owners. On that September day in 2008 they experienced the joy, the excitement, the pride, and, yes, a few nerves as they joined the ranks of business owners – entrepreneurs, if you will – with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. As Joe and Anna spent the next few weeks getting used to this idea and began preparing for their opening they woke up one day to some grim news. Everywhere they turned the media was describing the biggest financial meltdown our country had ever faced in a long time. Experts predicted years of recession – some even predicted the collapse of our country as we know it.

On the surface this certainly did not seem to be the time to start a new business venture. In fact Joe and Anna’s reaction to this news was understandable: “What have we done?!” But there really was but one course of action. “We decided to not listen to the ‘doom and gloom’ that was bombarding us on all sides,” agree Joe and Anna. It would have been so easy to nod along with the rest of the country, but they decided, like real Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, to put a stake in the ground. “We didn't let circumstances dictate our actions," says Joe.

Six years later American enterprise chugs on, Home Video Studio chugs on, and, most important in this story, Joe and Anna continue to grow and prosper in their studio founded amid the tempest of those times, and find themselves frequently among the weekly top earners and winning awards for video excellence and customer service. And recently they were honored with the top annual HVS award, Studio Owners of the Year, at the 14th Annual HVS Getaway in Orlando FL.

On the surface Joe may not have looked like a candidate for owning his own video services business back in 2008. He had spent all the years of his working life with, as he puts it, an “extreme corporate background.” He had a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business/information systems and an MBA in technical management. In the Navy he worked on communications systems on submarines. Then he worked in various positions at Honeywell for twenty-three years. In that time he rose through the ranks of responsibility as an IT engineer, as a manager and, ultimately, as an efficiency expert employing the Six Sigma method of improving quality and output for their military contracts. "My years in a corporate environment were great and there were some things I really liked," Joe remembers. "There is a certain amount of structure and a ‘certainty’ that comes in an environment like that."

Anna, on the other hand, complements the equation with many human service skills. In fact she boasts a degree in human services, with a background working in child care, healthcare, domestic abuse, customer service and special needs education. “I am a people person,” says Anna. "My experience in delivering what customers want and expect is what convinces them to trust me with their valuable possessions."

Joe and Anna seemed like the perfect match to live near suburban Baltimore, drive off separately to their jobs in the morning, collect their paychecks on Friday, and enjoy the weekend together. So why did this couple decide to leave their relative comfort of this scene and go into business for themselves? They say you always come back to what you love. "I inherited a love of audio, video and photography from my Dad," says Joe. "I got a movie camera when I was in seventh grade and I've been enamored with shooting movies and editing ever since. Doing something creative was a twenty year dream of mine."

Sometimes Joe thought about his own business, but quickly put the idea “on a shelf” and reverted back to the “comfort” and “safety” of his long-time corporate job. However, deep down inside, Joe harbored the dream of making a living doing what he loved! Anna, too, dreamed of the fun and rewards of preserving the histories of the area and the people – something she loved.

Meanwhile Joe had taken notice of some ads in Videomaker magazine on becoming a Home Video Studio owner. He had even responded and received additional information occasionally but would always sock it away for a time in the future. The future came in 2008, when Joe’s corporate job was going through restructuring and downsizing. Many of Joe’s co-workers were being “let go” and he wondered if he was going to be next. All of the comfort and security of corporate America didn’t seem so secure and Joe wasn’t very comfortable waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Joe and Anna decided it was time to take action. They called Robert Hanley, scheduled a Show ‘N’ Tell to learn more, flew to Indianapolis, liked what they heard and saw, and signed the paperwork that day. Bear in mind that Joe, with his “extreme corporate background” normally uses the luxury of taking a long time to deliberate on a major decision. "Usually I like to take things very slowly and deliberately, but something told me this is what I was looking for," says Joe, “joining the ‘HVS family’ was an easy decision.” The Yuricks became studio owners that day.

This brings us back to where we started. You might be tempted to say, “I know, I know. Joe and Anna became HVS owners and they started doing video for thousands of customers while living happily ever in their suburban studio/home amid unicorns and rainbows. Right?” Not quite. Joe and Anna, Studio Owners of the Year, have reached this point with hard work, tenacity, and faith

“Our beginnings were so humble,” laughs Anna. “The economic climate was scary. We were building the business piece-by-piece, buying extra equipment as a new project would merit it. We had only one transfer machine. Joe worked all day at his corporate job, taught many evenings at the University of Phoenix, then would come home to do the work of our new business.” Anna was also working and doing what she could with the studio business in her off hours, but was stymied, sometimes, by telling herself that she was not a “technical person”.

Lesser folks might have stumbled. Did you ever hear the story of the miner who got tired and finally gave up two feet from the richest gold vein in the Rockies? The Yuricks kept digging away – doing their first projects and marketing their business. Then came a big breakthrough. Someone saw their flyer at the Bagel Bin. “Someone” is all it takes. He brought in 7,500 slides, negatives and photos to scan. They were on their way and ready for the next challenge.

"My biggest obstacle was challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone," muses Joe. "I've learned that to accomplish things on your own you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable." They embraced this discomfort again when they decided to go full-time. "I was juggling my corporate job with the studio, as well as teaching part time at a local university, and we just decided we couldn't keep juggling." So they made a plan. Anna would leave her position in the local school system to work the business full-time while Joe would work in the evenings until the time was right to leave his job. Two years later, in November of 2011, the Yuricks took a big step and Joe left corporate America behind to work full-time in the business. “That was our biggest breakthrough,” says Anna. “It’s difficult to really get a fledgling business off the ground when it’s still part-time.” Now they were all in.

Nearly three years later the Yuricks are regarded one of the “cream of the crop” of 70-plus studio owners. They are one of the “Seven Stars” studios – a recognition given to those studios that exemplify Home Video Studio’s commitment to excellence. They have won two Hanley international awards for video excellence, and have twice received the Relationship Mindset Award for superior customer and community relations.

Six years after that fateful day in September of 2008 Joe and Anna Yurick can be found in their studio doing what they each do well. Anna has even taken on a lot of the technical work, as well as customer relations. They are always revising their goals. Anna offers, "You always need to be planning for the future of your business. Always being mindful of where new customers will come from. You almost need to be two places at once - taking care of the present but always having your eyes on the horizon." This is a challenge all businesses face. The Yuricks still have much ahead of them. But if the past is any indication they will stick to it and get there.

Home Video Studio Columbia

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