Pictured: Meyer Ace Hardware employees in Harbor Springs (l-r) Amanda Bell, Andrew White and Ron Hewitt were recognized recently for exceptional customer service. (Courtesy photo)
Editor's Note: With this issue we begin an occasional feature focused on stories of exceptional customer service submitted by our local businesses and service organizations and their clients and customers. Recently the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce announced an initiative to bring customer service and hospitality to a higher standard in this area. Their new program, Hospitality the Little Traverse Way, which was launched in June 2013, has the ultimate goal of elevating the "service culture" of the Little Traverse Bay Region, according to Chamber officials. In this spirit of service, hospitality and just plain small town helpfulness, the Harbor Light begins here with a report from Meyer Ace Hardware in Harbor Springs. To submit similar examples of service excellence, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Not all submissions will be published and we reserve the right to edit and publish, or not publish, at our discretion.
A Local 'Moment of Truth'
In mid-November, a severe storm with torrential rain passed through Harbor Springs that left Pat Masuch, property manager for the Greens in Birchwood, scrambling to care for one flooded residence, and another on the brink of flooding.
Masuch raced to Meyer Ace Hardware in Harbor Springs to get much-needed sandbags to protect properties. While the store was about to close-- and while Masuch did not have money on hand to pay for the 20, 70-pound bags of sand he needed-- Meyer employees Amanda Bell, Ron Hewitt, and Andrew White immediately jumped into action. They helped Masuch get the sandbags quickly loaded into his truck and had him heading back to Birchwood in a matter of minutes.
In a thank you letter written to owner Dave Meyer, Masuch said "The precious time your crew helped me save prevented severe damage to two residences."
Masuch went on to note that his positive business relationship with Meyer Ace Hardware proved the importance of community, and locally owned businesses.
"This 'relationship' really made the difference on Sunday," he wrote of his experience. "Ron allowed me to leave without paying, on my promise that I'd be in Monday morning to pay for the sandbags. I realize that there is no possible way that I would have been able to do this with a 'big box' store and this is just another great reason to support local businesses like yours...Thanks again for being there for us."
As a result of this interaction, Meyer nominated the three employees who helped Masuch for an Ace Hardware Corporation "Moment of Truth" award, which they all received. The award recognizes outstanding customer service. Hewitt, White, and Bell were sent letters from John Venhuizen, the president and CEO of Ace Hardware Corporation, acknowledging the importance of their interactions with Masuch.
In the letter addressed to Hewitt, Venhuizen wrote, "when it's sheeting rain and the store is closing, leaping into action with your colleagues to load 70-pound sandbags onto a truck is highly commendable. Impressing customers through your kindness, knowledge and excellence in service are the qualities that inspired this customer to write an appreciation note to owner, Dave Meyer."
As Masuch stated perfectly in that letter, "it can be very tough to make a go of business in a small town like Harbor Springs, but I wanted to let you know how much you are appreciated."