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Walking the extra mile

Have you ever bought a roll of film that gave you more than the standard 36 shots per roll? Well, I did, or at least I thought I did until I realized that when the frame counter passed 39 it was because I forgot to load the camera!Oh well, so much for freebies. But even if Kodak isn’t overly generous with their products or services, there are businesses in the valley that are. I thought I would recognize a few of them today:– I’m a new golfer and as with any tyro, I have a myriad of questions about the sport. So I stopped by Sonnenalp Golf Club to look at their selection of putters and hopefully get some advice on how to chose the right one for me. There I met Todd Bleidner, an assistant golf pro who was knowledgeable, helpful and extremely informative especially in light of my lack of experience with the sport. But what really impressed me was Todd’s concern that I make a good choice. It was patently obvious from the moment he offered to assist me that my satisfaction (versus making a sale) was his primary concern.How refreshing to engage with someone in retail who took the customer’s perspective. I didn’t buy a putter that day, but I did take a lesson with Todd. As a ski instructor, I can tell when a teacher knows what they’re doing. Todd was exceptional. Thank you, Todd, and thanks to the Sonnenalp Golf Club. Service such as Todd’s translates into repeat business.– Speaking of people walking the extra mile, Bethe Wright of The Wright Insurance Agency in Eagle is another of those people we all meet from time to time who view satisfying the customer as more important than making a sale.Buying personal health insurance was more brain damage than necessary and I had been working with an agent who was less than what I had hoped for. Since I had a series of issues that had to be redressed, I called the insurance carrier and they recommended that I speak with Bethe Wright.Because of my experience with property and casualty insurance brokerage (my prior career) I knew that “I didn’t know how much I didn’t know” about the health side of the business. But Bethe assisted me, as I would have hoped one of our sales people in years past would have helped one of our customers.Bethe was timely, responsive and professional – and she asked the right questions. It was obvious from the start that her concern was making sure I had not only coverage, but coverage that was right for me.I’m certain there are many professional insurance agents in the valley. But for my money, Bethe Wright really did get it right! — Kimberly Nichols is a relative newcomer to the valley. She owns Kimberley’s Fine Jewelry in Edwards Corner. About two weeks ago I damaged one of my prized possessions, my Naval Aviator’s ring, and stopped in her store to see if she could repair it. I knew the damage wasn’t major, but still I thought I would have to leave it for a week or so. Instead and to my surprise, Kim repaired the ring on the spot. When I asked her how much I owed, she said, “No charge. Just keep us in mind for the future.” Well, I will and I hope a few readers also stop in to view some of the fine jewelry she has on display.So how many other businesses in the valley do you know of that walk the extra mile for their customers or the people they serve?Any Occasion Gifts in Edwards is always at the top of that list, as is Kathy, the owner of the Kitchen Collage also in Edwards. Toph at The Kind bicycles and skis could have sold me a more expensive bike than I needed but didn’t. Bob Borgo, owner of All things Sharp (knife and utensil sharpening), is another who looks at the customer’s concern and seeks ways to provide his services while keeping the cost down. Monica Donoso and her staff at the Wells Fargo Branch in Edwards always walk the extra mile in servicing their customers. Sarah and Cindy Young at Cedar’s Flower Shop fit the mold, as well. I watched as Faith at Brush Creek Dry Goods in Vail Village went way out of her way to assist two of my close friends.Seamstress extraordinaire Lisa Farrell, the “Mountain Mender” in Minturn makes customer satisfaction job one, as does Mike at Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards. Want help in building a great Web site? Look no further than Anita Larsen, The Web Muse, and I assure you she’ll walk the extra mile as she helps you develop your concept, process the Web renewals and searches out ways to have your site on page 1 of Google.There are dozens of businesses in the valley that put the customer first. I think it’s great when readers write in to tell the rest of us about their positive experiences. So maybe you won’t get those “three extra photos” from Kodak, but there are plenty of first-rate business owners in the valley who will place your needs before making a sale. We want to know about them.Butch Mazzuca of Singletree, a Realtor, writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz68@earthlink.netVail, Colorado


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