Businesses may start at a modest size; with two friends talking over a dinner, a group of peers huddled around a computer – and others start elsewhere. “To share a little bit about Matthews, we’re a fifty-year-old company,” says Owner and President of Matthews Studio Equipment, Ed Phillips. “We started, literally, in a garage.”
Expanding a company is an evergreen goal of most independent businesses – but building a company to last is a long-term strategic target that successful businesses should aim for. Luckily in this case, Ed Phillips hit the target. Ed’s son is helping to build an enduring legacy with the business’ second generation. Vice President, Tyler Phillips explains how the company grew beyond the garage and what Matthews Studio Equipment specializes in. “We design and manufacture film, photographic, and media equipment ranging from lighting stands, to camera dollies and different lighting fabrics or diffusion, and everything in between.”
In an effort to progress the company and expand their reach further, Matthews established a culture of transparency. Chief Operating Officer Bill Hines explained, “We have an open-door policy for anyone who is interested in showing us a product – anything they might want to bring to the market. So, we work with those people as well.”
Inspiring an empowered and closely-bonded workforce is paramount to Matthews Studio Equipment’s success. HR Director Valerie Taylor expressed the importance of their employees’ satisfaction and closeness, saying, “People enjoy what they do, they enjoy being with each other, and they want to create a quality product. So they come in with a good attitude and they do their work, they get it done, and they have fun.”
Matthews was built on close relationships, and Hines emphasizes that importance. In fact, the nucleus of the company has been working with one another for several years. “Ed Phillips, Julio Benosa and myself have all been together for at least twenty years, so there’s a mutual trust and a mutual satisfaction with our relationship. I really think we all enjoy coming to work every day and we look forward to the work product we can turn out here as a result of that.”
This is a family-owner business and First Bank is a family-owned bank, so I believe that they have the same values; thus it's easy to get behind the company that supports the things that are important to you.
“Our core value proposition is ‘empowering you with confidence to create’. And what that means for the employees is that we are trying to create the highest quality and best products for consumers on the market,” added Taylor. “A lot of places can say that they strive for a family atmosphere but this company not only strives for it – it achieves it. And I think the best representation of that is the number of employees that have worked here for ten, twenty, thirty years. We have many long-term people across all spectrums of employment.”
Chief Financial Officer Julio Benosa echoed those sentiments, stating, “The central values of Matthews is more about giving back to the employees because without the employees the company would never succeed. We treat each other like we’re part of the family.”
It's been a fantastic relationship for the almost eight years now that I've been here, but they've been with the bank much longer. But it's the same thing as First Bank with everybody pulling together and working together as a family. It's much more than a job. It's very enjoyable - the personal relationships that we forge.
“This is a family-owned business and First Bank is a family-owned bank, so I believe that they have the same values; thus it’s easy to get behind the company that supports the things that are important to you,” Taylor acknowledged.
Ed Phillips recalled what First Bank did to distinguish themselves from any financial institutions. “[…] And this is the first thing that occurred that really caused First Bank to stand out in my opinion. We, again, were still having trouble getting traction. The bank came in again and looked around. They wanted to better understand my business. And they suggested that I hire a couple of outside counselors to come in and take another look around. Which I did. [After that,] The bank came back and said, “we’d like to relax your covenants – not tighten them up, relax them.” That was seventeen years ago and we have been nose up ever since!”
Having a proactive, strategic approach can help when responding to varied market trends. Tyler Phillips relates this concept to that of First Bank’s, saying, “What makes Matthews work is the fact that we can react to market trends quickly – we’re not this huge corporation that requires a hundred signatures to do anything. First Bank, because they’re not a gigantic, huge corporation, is able to help us react quickly because they can react quickly.”
At the heart of it all remains the compelling, personal relationships. First Bank Senior Group Manager Bill Nethercott emphasizes the significance in these connections, observing, “It’s been a fantastic relationship for the almost eight years now that I’ve been here, but they’ve been with the bank much longer. But it’s the same thing as First Bank with everybody pulling together and working together as family. It’s much more than a job. It’s very enjoyable – the personal relationships that we forge.” Nethercott and First Bank recognize and value the intricacies and hard work family-owned businesses invest in to their company.
You don’t grow to be one of the biggest family-owned banks by standing still. And you don’t do business for 100-plus years by forgetting where you came from, or who you’re here to serve. Because helping clients reach their goals is our goal, and planning better for tomorrow starts with achieving more today. For individuals, for businesses, and for the whole community. This is what it means to be a part of First Bank.
Where being treated like family means something. Where the success of our clients means everything. And where relationships come first.