Co-Owner, Grooms Office Environments
Charity: Safe to Sleep
Audrey Garard never saw herself as a business owner. She got her degree in marketing with an emphasis in advertising and wanted to be a copywriter. But she took a chance on a sales position opening at Grooms Office Environments and quickly learned that office design really wasn’t about design at all; it was about people. And that she could do.
Growing up in West Plains, Garard got her first job as a server at West Plains Country Club. That’s where she says she learned about people and relationships. She started as an account representative at Grooms at 23 years old. She worked her way up through sales manager and chief operating officer, and at 34 she bought the business. “Olin was looking to sell, but I had no desire to own a business,” she says. “The tipping point for me was [if] we sold we wouldn’t be [a] local [company] anymore. And that lit a fire.”
The passion for staying local keeps Garard working with clients like Burrell Health and Prime Inc. to create functional spaces for people to work in every day. But that passion also extends to everything she loves doing in life, including spending family time on Table Rock Lake and volunteering at Safe to Sleep, an entirely volunteer-staffed shelter that provides a safe place to sleep at night to homeless women. Garard volunteers twice a month to stay the night and monitor the shelter to be there for the women.