Each May, the Las Vegas Business Press invites the business community to nominate 10 of the most impressive, accomplished ladies in Las Vegas.
Every year, selecting 10 from the hundreds of submissions we receive is a challenge.
The 2012 Women Who Mean Business award winners are an impressive bunch, working tirelessly to ensure their organizations’ success, despite the tough economic conditions around them.
This year’s crop of nonprofit presidents, hospitality executives, Realtors, attorneys and more know better than anyone that having a high-powered career means little without being able to help others climbing the ladder. Our Women Who Mean Business are philanthropy-minded individuals who give back to Southern Nevada as a way of saying thanks.
And the Las Vegas Business Press staff congratulates them in return, for paving the way for up-and-coming women and exemplifying the best our city has to offer.
PRESIDENT, SOMERS FURNITURE
Debbi Somers is all about change.
As the owner of Somers Furniture, she’s been in the business of identifying, and consequently capitalizing, on tourism industry trends for 23 years. She’s moved from renting furniture to convention exhibitors to custom-building pieces for nightclubs and hotel pool areas, as well as selling furniture online.
“You have to look at where business is right now and then change to fit the climate you’re in,” she said.
Somers founded her company with a 10,000-square-foot rented warehouse, one employee, a rented truck and limited inventory. Today, she owns a 57,000-square-foot warehouse, a fleet of trucks and inventory in excess of $2 million. She also employs 20 full-time people.
As a business owner, Somers says her work is all encompassing, but she loves it.
“You live it, you breathe it, you sleep it.”
Somers also helps mentor fellow entrepreneurs to help them reach the next level in their industry through her Women’s President Organization membership. Somers is also a founding board member of Women Visionaries and a certified member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s western region affiliate.
“I know how hard it was. I just feel like a lot of women won’t take that step to move forward,” she said.
Businesswise, Somers has partnered with Metro’s K-9 unit, which uses her warehouse as a space to train the dogs. She also has her eye on downtown as a potential market for her furniture products.
“It looks like they’re now the movers and shakers,” she said. “You can’t stay stagnant in this economy.”
Because her furniture is showcased in many high-traffic areas like the Palms pool, Somers now offers a five-year warranty on her furniture, instead of one- to two-year warranties, to make herself stand out.
— Laura Carroll