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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A few new friends made this a royally great week

This was one of those weeks when I realize how lucky I am to have the job I do.

Sure, there are the normal headaches that come with working in an office or with the pressures of deadline.

But, when you get to sit down with three ladies who love their jobs, and whose bosses and customers love them back, it offers quite a boost.

I was lucky enough to do so in preparation for the crowning of The News-Herald/Lake County Fair Commerce Queen at the fairgrounds in Painesville Township.

We took the stage Thursday night and introduced the crowd of friends and family to these wonder women, and I wanted to share their stories with you.

As I said then, this honor is a special one, because it celebrates a woman who goes out every day and does her job with a smile. She is courteous to those with whom she comes into contact and does her job with skill. This honor pays tribute to those who go out of their way to provide good customer service.

So, now sit back and meet customer service at its best in Lake County.

Jackie Pshock
2013 Commerce Queen
It’s clear Jackie Pshock feels the same way about her customers at Yours Truly in Mentor as they do about her.

I got to talk to Pshock this week while she was on vacation with her husband, John, in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and during our chat, she admitted that the discussion about her job and history at the restaurant was making her wish she was working.

The Madison native who now lives in Kirtland said she joined Yours Truly about a month after it opened in 1997, earning a job after an interview with Jeff Shibley, a partner in Yours Truly.

Pshock, who works full-time at the restaurant, is usually on the early-morning breakfast shift.

“I love my customers,” she said. “I think of them more as my friends now. We start a conversation before I even have a chance to ask them what they want to drink.”

She said the long list of regulars makes it a comfortable place.

“It’s not like work. It’s like going to see family,” she said.

Pshock was nominated by her boss, Jeff Shibley.

“Jackie is server perfection,” he said in his nomination letter. “She makes a personal connection with each and every guest at Yours Truly. On her first day of work many guests came in and requested her station. When I asked her how they knew where she was working, Jackie stated that she called all her regulars and told them where she was working. Jackie amazed me on her first day in 1997 and has not stopped amazing everyone since.”

A customer posted this comment to the online contest site.

“Jackie is the type of person that goes above and beyond for all her customers. She truly loves her work and the people she meets. How many people can say that? If the title of Commerce Queen means an outgoing, caring, genuine, and all together real person then Jackie deserves this title!”

Tammy Weglicki
If you have the chance to meet Weglicki, you’re definitely going to have a DYNAMIC day.

The partner in a 3½-year-old convenience store named Dynamic Duo on Chardon Road in Willoughby Hills is a bundle of energy who greets all her customers by name or with a familiarity that comes with good customer service.

Weglicki and her husband, Rodney, opened the store after losing their jobs in the closure of another, similar store. They decided to parlay their experience in the business with Tammy’s bourgeoning knowledge of wine and spirits into a neighborhood place that’s really taken off.

The pair are consistently broadening their menu, and Weglicki boasts that they’re just about ready to serve their 17,000th corned beef sandwich.

The operation is a true family affair, with Tammy’s sister also on staff.

The Mentor resident said the business is booming, with sales of 30-plus cases of wine a week.

“People enjoy coming out, because they’re just not a customer,” Weglicki said. “We’ve built friendships here. A lot of the comments I’ve read on the Internet, people called us family, and you know what, we are family. We treat everybody the same, with the highest respect, and people keep coming back.”

And her customers notice it. Here’s a comment from one who voted for Weglicki online:

“Tammy goes above and beyond to service all customers, she is so friendly and positive, and it shows when you meet her, she wants to know you and demonstrates it every time you come in the store. The store offers more than value and this does not come easy these days.”

Laura Corrigan
Second runner-up
“Do you remember Radar O’Reilly?” Spence Klein, the CEO of Beacon Health, asked me when I stopped by his office early this week. He then pointed at Laura Corrigan and said, “he’s got nothing on her.”

Corrigan serves as an administrative assistant at the agency that was created when Neighboring and Pathways combined in July 2012.

She’s in charge of many office functions and works with the board of directors as it makes plans for the agency.

Corrigan had a mix of emotions when she found out she was nominated.

“It was a combination of ‘what?,’ and I’m bashful, so it was like, ‘who did that!?!’ One fun thing with this is that it gives people something to laugh about and joke about.”

Corrigan has a lengthy history working with social service agencies in Lake County, working for 10 years at Crossroads before joining Neighboring in 2008.

“Beacon Health does so much wonderful work for people,” she said. “... This place has so many wonderful employees working for it who give so much.”

Corrigan said she’s thrilled to see how much her coworkers think of her and her work with them.

“It makes me feel good, but I also have to struggle with embarrassment with the attention, because I don’t look for attention, to be the center of attention,” she said. “But then I also feel good to hear the things that people appreciate.”

She said she’s a good fit for the type of office work she does.

“I’m very organized,” Corrigan said. “I think one of my gifts is I remain calm. There can be a lot of things going on, but I remain calm, but you do what you have to do, and if you want to collapse later, you do that.”

Corrigan said she lives by a very simple adage in her dealings with her coworkers and the public.

“I care about people, and I think the Golden Rule is important, it’s how I live. I like to think of what things are like for other people.”
Twitter: @Lauranh


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