Core of Success

Nich­olas Kiefer with daugh­ters Jen­nifer Quinn (left) and Nicole Kiefer. Their Cen­ter City com­pany, CoreStaff, sup­plies tem­por­ary and per­man­ent work­ers. JENNY SWI­GODA / TIMES PHOTO

— A Lawndale en­tre­pren­eur and his two daugh­ters know the mean­ing of suc­cess. Their small firm won a gi­ant award.


Longev­ity, ex­cel­lent cus­tom­er ser­vice and a com­mit­ment to the needy are a few of the reas­ons CoreStaff Inc. re­cently was named Fam­ily Busi­ness of the Year by the Great­er Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Long­time Lawndale res­id­ents Nich­olas and El­len Kiefer star­ted the tem­por­ary and per­man­ent staff­ing busi­ness in 1976.

Today, daugh­ter Nicole Kiefer serves as pres­id­ent. An­oth­er daugh­ter, Jen­nifer Quinn, is vice pres­id­ent of op­er­a­tions.

“We’ve been around,” Quinn said. “Com­pan­ies aren’t just an in­voice we’re send­ing out. We have per­son­al, long-term re­la­tion­ships.”

The CoreStaff team was honored at the Cham­ber’s 29th an­nu­al small busi­ness Ex­cel­lence Awards at the Loews Hotel in Cen­ter City.

The awards are pres­ti­gi­ous. As an ex­ample, the Man­u­fac­turer of the Year was West Chester-based Schramm Inc., whose mo­bile drilling rigs helped free 33 miners trapped for 69 days in Chile in 2010.

Firstrust Bank nom­in­ated CoreStaff, in part, be­cause of its char­it­able work for the Mus­cu­lar Dys­trophy As­so­ci­ation, Sal­va­tion Army and Phil­abund­ance.

May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter was on hand to con­grat­u­late the win­ners.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Quinn said. “It was a nice event.”

Busi­ness­wise, the com­pany’s motto is, “We Take the Head­ache Out of Hir­ing.”

In­di­vidu­als hired for em­ploy­ers are on CoreStaff’s payroll, in­sur­ance pro­gram and work­ers’ com­pens­a­tion plan, sav­ing the em­ploy­er money and ag­grav­a­tion. The em­ploy­er can place the in­di­vidu­al on its payroll after a tri­al peri­od.

CoreStaff screens, tests and in­ter­views job ap­plic­ants, and veri­fies their ref­er­ences.

“It takes a lot of the fear out of hir­ing,” Nicole Kiefer said. “You’re not go­ing to re­ceive the level of cus­tom­er ser­vice from the com­pet­i­tion that you’re go­ing to get from a fam­ily busi­ness like ours. We’re very proud of our staff. They’re fant­ast­ic.”

Nich­olas Kiefer is a long­time busi­ness­man who worked in the pest con­trol field in In­di­ana­pol­is and Bal­timore, where he met his wife. He opened Or­kin loc­a­tions in Geor­gia, Vir­gin­ia and Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Later, he joined an em­ploy­ment agency that re­quired a lot of travel. He moved on to a tem­por­ary help ser­vice com­pany be­fore go­ing in­to busi­ness for him­self.

“I star­ted Kiefer Ser­vices,” he said, set­tling down after work­ing in 42 states.          

Over the years, the com­pany has had three loc­a­tions, all in Cen­ter City. Today, it’s named CoreStaff Inc.

The cor­por­ate headquar­ters is at 1420 Wal­nut St., con­veni­ently loc­ated for cli­ents tak­ing pub­lic trans­port­a­tion and staff mem­bers try­ing to re­cruit em­ploy­ers will­ing to hire those cli­ents.

Nich­olas Kiefer is re­tired but re­mains a be­hind-the-scenes force.

“Dad is a wealth of wis­dom and in­form­a­tion,” Nicole said.

Nich­olas Kiefer is proud of his daugh­ters and oth­er fam­ily mem­bers who work there.

“They put their heart and soul in­to it,” he said.

The ma­jor­ity of avail­able po­s­i­tions are in of­fice sup­port, in­dus­tri­al and food ser­vice. Among the or­gan­iz­a­tions and com­pan­ies that CoreStaff does busi­ness with are SEPTA; the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia; De­pend­able Dis­tri­bu­tion Ser­vices, a co­coa bean im­port­er with three ware­houses in the North­east; and Ma­ter­i­als Pro­cessing Cor­por­a­tion (MPC), an elec­tron­ics-re­cyc­ling firm on Dec­atur Road in the Far North­east.

“The jobs of­ten lead to per­man­ent po­s­i­tions,” Nicole said.

The busi­ness­wo­men grew up work­ing at their dad’s com­pany and also worked blue- and white-col­lar jobs. They answered tele­phones, stuffed en­vel­opes and even dressed up in Pep Boys cos­tumes. They worked at a bakery, bus com­pany and print­ing shop.

“Everything we did had value to it. It built our work eth­ic,” Nicole said.

If man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs ever re­turn in big num­bers, CoreStaff is well po­si­tioned.

“Our busi­ness is poised for sig­ni­fic­ant growth, to help staff those com­pan­ies,” Nicole said. ••

For more in­form­a­tion, call 215-864-0500 or vis­it 

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