Customers reward Vail workers |

Customers reward Vail workers

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Melanie Wong/Vail DailyIn Vail, Colorado, One Track Mind Assistant Manager Chris Kearney tells Matt Cronin, of Los Angeles, about his options for a snowboard rental. Kearney was recognized by the Vail Chamber and Business Association for excellent customer service

VAIL, Colorado ” When customers walk into Lionshead’s One Track Mind in Vail, Colorado, Chris Kearney is there to greet them with a smile, and even offer advice on places to eat and where to ski on the mountain.

“I believe customer service is the most important thing,” said Kearney, the store’s assistant manager. “People aren’t going to buy anything unless they’re happy to be here. It’s not like they’re going to the grocery store to buy milk. We’re selling fun.”

Kearney was one of many local employees recognized by the Vail Chamber and Business Association for excellent customer service.

Customers write in

As part of it’s Premier Impressions program, customers can report their experiences to the chamber via e-mail or by filling out feedback pamphlets available at many stores, restaurants and lodges.

Kearney’s customers wrote that they appreciated getting dining and mountain advice from a local, that he was “calm and cool when all nine of us went in,” and that he “got us on the mountain in no time.”

From the feedback, the chamber will present employees with gift certificates for local stores, restaurants, ski tunes and even groceries. All the recognized employees are entered into the end-of-the-season prize drawing, in which the chamber will give away skis, snowboards, mountain bikes and other sports equipment, as well as a grand prize, all-inclusive vacation to Cozumel.

The grand prize winners will be announced on Plum TV Channel 16 on Monday.

The rewards program has been going for more than a decade. However, this year more than ever, the Chamber said it wants to encourage employees and businesses to give customers the best experience possible.

“What we tell businesses is that when times get difficult, control what you can control ” and the first thing is customer service,” said Jason Peters, communications manager for the chamber. “That’s how a lot of these guys have stayed in business as long as they have. Year in and year out people come to Vail, and they recognize these employees. They get good customer service, and they come back.”

Service more important than ever

One Track Mind manager Valerie Lukach also agreed that while the store has always focused on customers, she’s found that customers are looking for more value.

“More customers are being educated consumers this year,” she said.

So in addition to being friendly, Lukach said the store’s employees aim to be knowledgeable and on-hand to answer all the questions.

Ghiqui Hoffmann, owner of Vail Village’s Laughing Monkey, also said she is focusing on customer service now more than ever.

“Every customer who comes in is helping us survive, and I let them know it means a lot,” she said. “We want to make people feel comfortable and welcome so that whether or not they buy something, they’ll remember they had a good experience and maybe come back next time.”

Hoffmann said she and her employees always make sure to be friendly and helpful ” and that includes giving people aspirin, offering restaurant recommendations, throwing people’s trash away and even fixing eyeglasses.

“We do it all,” she said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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