A TVF trailblazer is retiring. Suzanne Freeman, the company’s first-ever woman in sales, is winding down a career in textiles that will end just shy of 39 years. Suzanne has become an invaluable part of TVF’s fabric: admired, trusted, and respected by customers and fellow employee owners alike.
Hired after reading a “little three or four liner” job listing placed by co-founders Dick Hanzel and Dick Leventhal, she joined the company (then called Top Value Fabrics) after graduating from Indiana University. with a degree in consumer studies and working for a big retailer in Cleveland. “I kind of wanted to get in sales… my boyfriend (now husband) was in sales and I looked at the job posting that our former two owners had posted, and it said ‘needs experience in textiles,’” Freeman says.
Her college studies included coursework on textiles, at a time when TVF’s offerings could be summed up on an eight-page price list. Most fabrics then came from what is now our classic division. She’s learned, grown, and evolved her talents with TVF as our lineup has expanded to include more than 1,000 fabric variations.
“I’ve seen a lot more women come into the industry, which I love,” Freeman said, adding that other notable advances in textiles and beyond since she joined the company include more efficiencies through technology and more sophisticated marketing approaches that have taken hold.
Suzanne has left an indelible mark on the company, her coworkers and fellow employee-owners, and the customers she has worked with throughout the years. Perhaps her biggest impact has been imparting her wisdom and steady approach on those coming up through the ranks of TVF. She’s seen our product selection expand from “an eight-page price list” to more than 1,000 fabric variations.
Ever-humble, Suzanne credits the full TVF salesforce and leadership teams throughout her time here as shaping her illustrious career that’s included nine salesperson of the year accolades. As an employee-owner, she identifies “Care Deeply” as the TVF Core Value she relates to most closely. “If you don’t care about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, and the people around you, then I think you’ve kind of lost something before you’ve even started,” she said.
Suzanne’s goals for retirement include spending more time with her children and new grandchild, traveling (she has trips to Belize and Texas on her itinerary already), walking, bicycling, and gardening (she says she could expand parts of her home garden).
“I’ll enjoy whatever comes my way,” she concludes. Cheers to a wonderful career, Suzanne!