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Companies that “Get It” Honor Roll

There are companies that do “Get It” which is nice to say but the truth to such a statement always lies in the concrete evidence of naming them.  That is exactly what we are going to do; name them.  I am adding an honor roll for these companies that get live up to the four business rules of the baker – 1. Give them more than they expected, 2. Thank the customer, 3. Ask for another sale, 4. Ask for a referral.   This can be done in many ways but ultimately it is best done through the Service Profit Chain.

As mere consumers we cannot see the internal workings of the companies we visit.  As consumers we do not know if a company is a great place to work or if the management team provides quality leadership.  We also do not know if the sales of the company are growing, shrinking, or even if the company is profitable.  As consumers the only question we can answer is did we receive such a high level of customer service exceeding our expectations that we will buy again and recommend the company to others.  It is possible to have such an experience once and have a company that is unprofitable with an unmotivated work force.  True, it can happen.  It is very unlikely to have such an experience consistently, every time we interact with a company.   Great companies that provide great products and services always stand out and are immediately recognizable when we interact with them.

To start our honor roll of companies that “Get It” I have chosen a truly impressive group.  Each of these companies have carved out a unique product niche to define the space they compete in.  They then have designed the soft and hard systems needed to compete in the perspective market space.

Middletown Lumber, Middletown PA  (

Middletown Lumber has been providing service to the Harrisburg Pennsylvania market since 1955.  Many other hardware and lumber supply stores have opened and closed since then but Middletown Lumber is successful by providing outstanding customer service and a unique product line the big box stores cannot match.  You will not hear the actual names of Lowes or Home Depot mentioned in the store but you know what they mean when they say “We don’t sell that, the other guys do.”   Realizing they could not compete on price for simple plywood and other building materials, they changed the inventory to include only premium products which command premium prices.  Need a Bulivian Rosewood?  They have it and will help you select just the right piece for your project then deliver it for free if you need.  The high level of customer service is astonishing.  I have been undercharged for an order and told “we will settle up next time” which was a clever way of asking for another sale.  I have seen a customer return an opened can of stain for a full refund because the customer didn’t like the color.  It is the same group of guys every time you walk in the door and it is the same warm greeting no matter who is at the counter.  Middletown Lumber is a company that “Gets It.”

Sporting Valley Turf Farms Inc, Manheim, PA

Grass, these folks live and breath high quality grass and supply it to contractors, home centers, an even home owners.  They grow grass by the farm field and sell it by the yard and it is the focus on selling one yard at a time that put Sporting Valley on this honor roll.  It is obvious that each yard of grass sold is important to them since they provide the same great service to the homeowner patching a few spots for a small order  as they do the University putting in a new athletic field.  The attention to the needs of the consumer is very evident from the time the order is placed, pickup and delivery, and even the after-sale followup.  They want your grass to grow and for you to have a successful experience with their product and it shows that they care.  Sporting Valley Turf Farms is a company that “Gets It.”

Lurgan Greenhouse, Lurgan, PA

They won’t take American Express, or Visa, or Master Card.  Here is a company that eschews all forms of modern technology and is successful by sticking to its roots, literally.   This Old Order Mennonite owned and operated business provides a wide selection of household flowers, tree, shrubs and yard plants from its Lurgan, PA location.  The six greenhouses overflow with plants grown in many cases from seeds on the premises.  The staff is always friendly and very helpful to assist in finding the plant that is just right for your garden.  By providing a large selection of products at discounted prices, Lurgan Greenhouse is able to earn goodwill from its consumers who provide most of the advertising for the company.   The economics of driving to Lurgan Greenhouse might be harder to justify at $3.50-$4.00 a gallon but visit is more an experience that cannot be matched at the big-box garden centers.  The friendly staff, the quality products, and competitive prices make Lurgan Greenhouse a company that “Gets It.”

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