FARGO — Hannaher's Workplace Interiors has rebranded as Connect Interiors with a group of familiar faces purchasing the commercial furniture firm.
Looking to retire, CEO Paul Hannaher and CFO Joe Stanger sold the business to a group of long-standing company executives CharRae Chwialkowski, Kim Dean and Amy Hannaher-Overby.
"Our people are staying the same, which I think is incredibly important in our story," Hannaher-Overby said. Through the sale, Hannaher-Overby became the third-generation owner of the business which her grandfather started and father Paul carried on.
The women are all industry veterans from the Fargo-Moorhead area. Dean has worked for the business for nearly 30 years and carries over experience in design leadership and the health care sector. Chwialkowski has worked for the company for over 15 years and worked for Steelcase, a commercial furniture manufacturer. Connect is a fully-authorized Steelcase dealer.
Hannaher-Overby brings a lifetime of experience with the business, from playing in the original Moorhead warehouse to her role as a client experience manager.
After college, Hannaher-Overby held marketing roles with agricultural and construction firms in Fargo.
"Quickly through that process, I realized that I wanted to be a part of the family business," she said. "I have two sisters and my dad said if any of us wanted to be in the family business, he wanted it to be on our terms. He didn’t want us to feel any pressure."
Carlene Wilson and Catherine Mika will join the trio on an advisory basis from Atmosphere Commercial Interiors, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Omni Workspace Company, both of which are headquartered in Minneapolis.
Connect is now completing a lengthy application process to become a certified women-owned business by the Women's Business Enterprise Council, Hannaher-Overby said.
"Being a women-owned business is going to provide us a lot of opportunities, not only within our communities but to our other dealer partners within Steelcase as well," Hannaher-Overby said. "We’re really excited about how we're positioned for the future."
The WBENC certification required the business "to make a clear delineation in the change of ownership," Hannaher-Overby said, prompting the rebranding from Hannaher's Workplace Interiors to Connect Interiors.
"It was a very thoughtful process, looking at what we do as a company every day and how important faith and bringing people together is," Hannaher-Overby said of the rebranding. Given the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the new owners sought to "emphasize the power of connection."
Connect Interiors will continue operations in its three Red River Valley locations in Fargo, Grand Forks and Detroit Lakes, Minn.
"To be presented with this opportunity with Connect and being women-owned is very fulfilling from a professional and a personal standpoint," Hannaher-Overby said.