It might sound like a broken record, but the point bears repeating. One of the best benefits of reporting success stories is the examples those stories provide for business owners and managers. Such stories are not only entertaining, but also instructional in showcasing practices and ideas that can be emulated.
Two stories in this very issue of the Business Times are no exception in pointing out two important attributes of business success: customer service and innovation.
The cover feature about Page-Parsons Jewelers and owner Peggy Page constitutes a different kind of a success story in that Page has decided to close the downtown business. Still, the story illustrates what kept that operation going for the more than 50 years after Peggy’s parents purchased the business, and that’s a relentless commitment to customer service.
Peggy describes her relationships with customers in terms of family, of celebrating with them during the best of times, but also commiserating and even praying for them in the worst of times.
Peggy also knows it’s the little things that make a big difference, like helping husbands pick out jewelry she knows their wives will like and avoid purchasing a necklace too similar to one they’d already bought. Peggy loves telling the story about how she helped a husband and wife shopping separately for gifts pick out matching watches, even though they didn’t realize what had happened until the wrapping paper came off.
Businesses that care to that extent for their customers and offer that level of service will remain competitive against far larger operations and online outlets.
For Peggy Page, the decision to close had less to do with business and more to do with the toll more than 50 years of work in retail has taken physically and in terms of preventing her from spending more time with her family.
Page-Parsons Jewelers is a downtown institution that will be sorely missed. So will the customer service offered there.
The feature about Glideware and its new product illustrates the importance of innovation.
The Glideware story is remarkable enough given that owners Dave and Jenny Hall launched the Grand Junction venture as the serendipitous result of trying to figure out what to do about the pots and pans piling up in their kitchen cabinets. They’re inventive solution was to design an extendable rail with hooks from which pots and pans can hang.
The Halls have come up with another inventive product in turning the lazy Susan into what they’ve branded as the Not-So-Lazy Susan. They’ve replaced the rotating circular shelves usually filled with old spice containers with an industrious device for storing pots, pans and other cookware. Just imagine putting all that space inside a corner cabinet to productive use.
Given the number of kitchen cabinets manufactured in the United States and the fact nearly every kitchen includes at least one corner cabinet, Dave Hall has great expectations for the new product. In fact, he believes the Not-So-Lazy Susan ultimately could outsell all the other Glideware products — combined. There’s more good news in the Halls hope to keep most of the manufacturing for the Not-So-Lazy Susan in Grand Junction.
The Halls certainly don’t hold the franchise for inventing new products, but they are remarkable in the way they’ve capitalized on their ideas.
So … what would a story say about your business?