Meet Jay Durmaskin, co-owner of ShelfGenie.
Tell us a little about your business. – ShelfGenie provides custom pullout shelves that retrofit existing or new cabinets, typically in the kitchen, pantry, or bathrooms. We also design custom closets and storage solutions that can be done in any area of the home. We provide better access to your cabinets and closets. No more having to get down on your hands and knees to find what’s in your cabinets.
How did you get started in the business? – I was the franchise support manager for ShelfGenie, working from Omaha and traveling around the country to work with our franchisees. After a year and a half of traveling non-stop, I joined the local franchise. My business partner, Nick Starkey, had been an installer for ShelfGenie and purchased the franchise from the previous owner.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – We’ve been very fortunate to have a tenured, reliable team of designers and installers, so our biggest challenge as a ShelfGenie business is to let people know all of the ways we can help them. Basically, we are always trying to find ways to let people know that we have ways to give them better access to everything in their home.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – When I first graduated from college, I worked in a family business selling imprinted promotional products. Adapting from that to selling other products and services, and then transitioning into the franchising world where I helped other people grow their businesses, and then having my own business, has been my most important professional accomplishment.
Tell us a little about your family. – My wife and I are both widowed, so we have a blended family. She has two daughters who are married and living in Omaha, with three granddaughters. I have a son who lives in Minneapolis with his wife and my two granddaughters, and a daughter who lives with her husband in Boston. He just ran in and completed the Boston Marathon!
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Being blessed to find love a second time is something I am always thankful for.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Playing pickleball, reading, watching a movie, or taking a walk.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – Many years ago, when I was a member of the Optimists Club, I was selected the Nebraska Optimist of the Year.
Who inspires you? – My kids because of everything they do in their lives.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – It’s a lengthy one by Theodore Roosevelt titled, “The Man in the Arena”. It basically says, it is not the critic who counts. Rather, it is the person who strives to accomplish something, even if they fail.
If you could have a super power, what would it be? – Being able to speak and understand any language so I could communicate with anyone in the world.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss is the last great one I read.
What is your favorite local restaurant? – La Casa Pizzaria.