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May 23, 2007

Visiting the JCPenney Museum

On Monday I took the family to the JCPenney museum at the company’s headquarters in Plano, Texas. (Thanks to Watch it Made in America, my new favorite travel guide.)

I enjoyed walking through the beautiful corporate campus and seeing the growth of JCPenney from a single store in Wyoming to a national retailer with 1,000 stores. The kids would rather have gone back to Six Flags.

But I wanted them to meet – if only through a statue and some black and white film – one of my childhood business heroes. James Cash Penney is one of the people who inspired my love of business, and my belief that it is a force for good in the world.

Business gets a lot of bad press, much of it deserved. There are lots of greedy, selfish business people out there. But there are also business people like Penney, who are guided by the Golden Rule and whose businesses serve the public’s interest as well as their own.

Penney laid out his business ideas in 1913, and they are still great ideas today. Among them:

"2. To expect for the service we render a fair remuneration and not all the profit the traffic will bear."
"7. To test our every policy, method, and act in this wise: "Does it square with what is right and just?"

I want my business to do the same.

Posted by Bob Pritchett at 8:27 AM | TrackBack

May 12, 2007

Excellent Customer Service at Anthony's Hearthfire

My wife and I visited the new Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill in Bellingham soon after it opened. I ordered the American Kobe Beef Hamburger, which looked pretty good. When I heard they were out of it, late on a Saturday night soon after opening, I was understanding and ordered something else.

Last night -- weeks after our first visit -- I returned and ordered it again. The server (the same one as on our first visit) came back and apologized again. She even remembered us and that we’d played this scene before.

I ordered something else, and wondered if I was going to see customer service in action. I never ask for special treatment; I want to see how other businesses handle things on their own. I speculated to my wife that a free dessert or a complimentary entrée would be a good move by the manager in this situation.

So I was really impressed when my credit card was returned without a bill -- no charge for our dinner for two.

Anthony’s adjacent seafood restaurant already gets a lot of my dining business. We take visitors there, buy gift certificates for employee recognition, etc. Last night’s experience reinforced my belief that our money is well spent, with a business that knows how to serve customers well.

And it ensures that I'll return -- again -- to finally try that burger....

Posted by Bob Pritchett at 12:55 PM | TrackBack