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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.

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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 www.corestaffinc.com

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