"It's not a dress rehearsal, folks. We only have this life and we need make the most of it." If you have spent any length of time with my mom, then you have likely heard this saying more than once. Whether a tough chapter, daunting obstacle, devastating loss, or even what you thought to be "just another day," you could always turn to Lexi for a kick-start to your gratitude for life. Because for my mom, there was no such thing as "just another day" or event that could rob you of your joy. She persistently woke up each day with a grateful heart, committed to sharing that perspective with others. That's why when she was taken from us suddenly last year, we knew her approach to life and influence on so many had also been, by no mistake, her legacy.
This unabashed positivity, which stemmed from her strong faith, was a driving force in Lexi's life. It's what allowed her to become the incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, business owner, Sunday School teacher and community influencer that she was. Lexi's legacy lives on through her family, the business she helped to create and all of those who had the opportunity to be a recipient of her fierce love.
Leading With Heart
In 1998, our family business was celebrating its third anniversary and was building a showroom to host a broader audience of customers. My mom had just joined the effort to make sure that the name Rettinger would become synonymous with fireplaces, just as my dad had always envisioned. From the beginning, their focus was always the same: highest-quality everything. My dad sought out the best products and assembled a team to install them; my mom told the story.
As new displays were added to the showroom, my mom would make it feel like home. Seasonal decorations were carefully placed on each mantel, family photos were hung on each wall, and every display was made to feel like a living room. Many would say, "Dave is the hardware, Lexi is the software," and together they built a thriving family business based on strong values and integrity.
As the years went by, Rettinger Fireplace became known to the hearth industry as a company to be modeled after. I remember when I was a college student, my parents sent me to a regional training hosted by Heatilator, which remains our largest manufacturer. While the seminar host was presenting on best practices, I noticed a photo of our showroom displayed on the screen. "Here's an example from one of our top dealers, Rettinger Fireplace, of how to take your showroom to the next level." Later in the presentation, they showed screen shots of best practices for using your website. "This is how Dave & Alexis Rettinger use customer reviews to attract new customers." I watched as other dealers from all over the Northeast took notes with inspiration in their eyes.
Humbled, and quite inspired myself, I returned home and shared the story with my parents. I remember them both smiling, but I could tell that they too had attended presentations where our company had been featured. Even though they were raising the bar as an industry leader, there had never been an ounce of arrogance or assumption from their shared success. Their focus simply remained on their mantra: "Where Details Make The Difference."
The story of my parents is one of love and faith both in family and business. It is a testimony for small businesses everywhere that if you put your heart into what you are doing and remain grateful, what you attract is a gift more important than success—a gift that Lexi has surely left to our family and staff—a legacy of love.
Giving With Love
To our family, Alexis was known as "Bear" and to her grandchildren "G-Bear” because of her fierce love and nurturing nature. But you didn't have to be bloodline to receive Bear's distinctive love. Bear kept it personal for all she encountered in business and in life, and her generosity was widespread. In 2000, she led a mission at our church known as the Heifer Project to raise money for a community in El Salvador. Each year she employed the business as a vehicle for giving to local charities and unsuspecting individuals along her path. But you’d never hear it from her. Even after her passing, we still hear the untold stories of Bear’s generosity. Her innate ability to recognize and empathize with a group or individual in need showed in the way she gave not just financially, but also emotionally with her time and connection. Bear would say, "If you're given much, you must give much," and she walked the walk.
As a continuation of Bear’s legacy, Rettinger Fireplace will select a charity that displays fierce love to be the recipient of the Lexi Award. Recipients will be announced each year on Valentine’s Day. Visit our website on Feb. 14 to find out who the 2021 winner will be.
Remembering A Message From Lexi’s Notebook
Look back and thank God.
Look forward and trust God.
Look around and serve God.
Look within and find God!
About Rettinger Fireplace
Rettinger Fireplace remains the area’s preferred resource for all aspects of fireplace design and installation. With an expert team of professionals, Rettinger brings over 100 years of combined experience to serve its customers with highest-level service. Our consultative sales experience makes sure customers receive the right product while our National Fireplace Institute-certified installation leaders ensure a safe installation.
Visit our showroom in the Voorhees Design Center: 476 Centennial Blvd., Voorhees.
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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 17, Issue 11 (February 2021).
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