Making a good business great

Published 6:25 pm Saturday, July 13, 2019

Bobby Tingle, Publisher

Recently The Orange Leader was named business of the month by the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce.

A goody bag full of candy, cups, pens, notepads, a massage, and a free lunch was included.

It was a nice touch to go along with the plaque given to us by the chamber.

Multimedia Sales Representative Candi Trahan jumped on the free lunch coupon.

“When can we do this?” she asked.

The goody bag was full of wonderful items and all were equally prized and appreciated.

But the lunch was good.  

Neches Federal Credit Union provided the lunch, delivered by Dawn Fournier.  She brought a nice lunch, a winsome smile and hung around to brighten our day with some laughs and good conversation.

She made us feel special, as did all the merchants who contributed to the goody bag.

Readers of The Orange Leader, whether you read it in print or the online version, were recently given the opportunity to vote for their favorite food, places, and people in Orange County.

We had a record number of ballots cast.  We were deluged with papers ballots. The numbers were in the thousands.

This year we offered readers the opportunity to vote online.  Thousands of ballots were cast online. At the deadline to vote, the voting was furious.  If we cut you off at the pass, we are sorry. But all good things must come to an end.

Is this a testament to how wonderful and great The Orange Leader is?

Well, let’s hope there is some truth and reality to the sentiment.

But, I suspect the winners and runners up have employed tactics to make their customers feel appreciated, which could very well be the compelling reason for the vast number of ballots cast.

In other words, the folks in Orange County appreciate good food, good people and good places and they don’t mind saying so!

Neches Federal Credit Union and other Bridge City Chamber members understand.

Does customer service just happen?  I mean good customer service. The kind which makes you walk away feeling like you just got the royal treatment, the ‘good’ brand of the royal treatment.

Horst Schulze is the co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and author of the book, Excellence Wins, A no-nonsense guide to becoming the best in a world of compromise.  Shulze and his partners built their chain of hotels through excellent customer service.

Shulze was invited by CEO and President of First Financial Bank, SE Texas Region Stephen Lee to speak to his team.  Lee was not simply showing off his ability to bring a world-renowned businessman and author to Orange.

His purpose was to inspire the First Financial team to perform their work in an excellent way and in a friendly over the top customer service way.

When you walk in the door of the bank or one of their branches you will know if his ploy worked.

Why is your favorite restaurant your favorite?  Because they make you feel like a bother when you walk in the door?  I suspect it is quite the opposite.

You go where the service is good.  

The product may be comparable to the competition, but the service can make the difference, which brings you back.

Granger Chevrolet offers a world-class experience.

Cecil Atkission Toyota’s motto is “When the products are similar, the dealer makes the difference.”

Safety Wear LTD sells steel-toed boots out of their mobile shoe store in worksites along the gulf coast.

The staff of Childs Ace Hardware greets you at the door with an offer to help you find what you need.

These are a few examples of area merchants who strive to be a cut above the competition.

Banks, auto dealers, and hardware stores are not the only ones in town who strive to provide ‘bring you back service.”

President of Lamar State College-Orange Dr. Thomas Johnson has quickly become a familiar face in his short tenure.  While this column was being composed he called to let us know they are watching Tropical Storm Barry. At the moment, the path of the storm was going to allow for the campus to be open to serve students.

But he stressed their desire to make every allowance for students and staff who may be adversely impacted by the storm if they were coming from Louisiana.

In short, students and staff who can make it safely come and take advantage.  But students and staff who may be in danger will suffer no penalty.

Rarely do you get the opportunity to have it both ways.

As Orange contemplates the possibilities for growth and development the best place to start is to blossom where you are planted.

We strive to be the best news organization in the county.  The competition is stiff. Thankfully it is. We see evidence of our success.  We are also aware of our shortcomings.

But as we and you and the whole community seeks to go above and beyond in whatever you do then the community will better position itself to grow.

We all have a part to play.

By the way, don’t miss your copy of The Orange Leader on Saturday, July 27, 2019.

In it will be a list of the best food, places, and people in Orange County.  When you see the list remember each winner had competitors nipping at their heels.

Keep up the good work Orange County!

Bobby Tingle is the publisher of The Orange Leader.  You can reach him at