This is the fifth part of an eight-part article about Maintenance Mart distributing jan/san supplies for the Super Bowl.

The timing was right, as Riley and Kraus were both feeling the entrepreneurial urge.

“We worked for a lot of people for a lot of years and wanted to be able to be our own boss, make our own decisions,” Kraus says.

After finally convincing Service Resource Corporation’s owner to sell, Riley bought out Maintenance Mart in 2002. Riley, who knew the operation well by then, ran things on her own initially. Kraus hopped on about six months later as CFO.

Early on, the couple did find some challenges in convincing prospective customers that the new Maintenance Mart was no longer associated with Service Resource Corporation. But once that was accomplished, business took off. Kraus had significant experience helping start-ups grow into successful businesses, and Riley possessed a fearlessness that had already pushed her to succeed in this mostly male industry. They were also fortunate that their skills tended not to overlap.

“Her strengths are my weaknesses,” says Kraus. “She’s the public face of the company. She does an excellent job at that. I’m the detail guy.”

People frequently tell Kraus that he and Riley are unique in being able to work so closely together everyday as husband and wife. The couple eats lunch together most days, and they even carpool whenever possible. The trick, he says, is knowing when to stay out of each other’s way and how to leave work at work.

“In a traditional sense, two people who work in two different places, they come home and they can bounce problems off each other,” says Kraus. “We have the same problems, so it’s kind of hard.”

Riley attributes their success to a profound respect for each other’s abilities.

“We don’t agree on everything,” she says. “But we do a really good job of just, ‘Look, we’re not going to agree on this. Let’s just talk about something else.’”

The entire recipe has worked. Maintenance Mart has experienced double-digit growth every year since Riley purchased it in 2002, she says.

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A Move To Jan/San Supplies
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Closing The Deal With University Of Phoenix Stadium