Happy Birthday America: Part 2

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2012, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD
The Face of America Project
All Rights Reserved

The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or college presidents, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in its common people.Sinclair Lewis

Making It Happen

Windsor Park Camp is the best week of the summer for Kitch and me. It is a week of uninterrupted participation in the life of our 10-year-old granddaughter, Julia.

Wherever we go, we go together.  Whatever we do, we do together. Whatever we learn, we learn together.

Without question, the highlight of Windsor Park Camp 2012 was a visit to the Tingley Glass Store and Studio in Dickson City.

Julia is a creative child, and we were looking for an activity that would be challenging, interesting and educational. At Tingly Glass, Julia had an opportunity to create an original glass product under the watchful and talented eye of a skilled professional glass artist.

The environment was welcoming, the employees were engaging, the studio was immaculately kept, and the instruction was up close, personal and very effective.

Tingley Glass is the heart and brain child of Jan Winemiller an accomplished artist and a member of one of the founding families of Harford, Pennsylvania. She has built a reputation for extraordinary work, historical preservation and customer service of an extraordinary kind.
Every person we met during our visit put Julia’s needs first. They went out of their way to make it a memorable and productive experience for her, and they were very kind to Kitch and me.

I marveled at the interpersonal skills of JoAnn Radicchi, a retired special education administrator who coordinated our visit to Tingley Glass.  

Gwyneth Steele, Julia’s teacher, exhibited teaching skills that ranked among the very best I have ever experienced. In a very limited window, she eliminated any apprehensions Julia might have had.  She drew her into the creative process with questions that were easy to understand and answer.  She demonstrated the process, and then she left Julia alone at a work bench to make the most of her opportunity.

While Julia worked on her project, Gwen watched her from across the room. Occasionally she would join Julia to help her learn a technique or refine an aspect of the glass horse she was creating.

Watching them work together was pure poetry in motion.

When it was over I asked Julia what she thought about the experience. One word came spontaneously and enthusiastically to her lips, “awesome.”

That word perfectly describes what Jan Winemiller and her team is accomplishing one customer or student at a time at Tingley Glass.

Even more amazing is the fact that the store in Dixon City has been open for less than a year.  You read it correctly.  This facility was opened during one of the most challenging recessions in recent memory, and the business is thriving.

Kitch and I are not economists, but we have learned something about successful businesses during our Face of America journey. They put their customer’s needs first, second and always before anything else including profit. It’s not exclusively about the bottom line.  It’s about what the customer needs. They are willing to take a reduced profit to establish a long term relationship with a satisfied customer who will leave the store with pleasant memories and a desire to share the good news with others.

That’s exactly what happened to us at Tingley Glass.

It was a quintessential American moment. It was America at its best.  At this place, on a beautiful summer afternoon quality, performance, satisfaction and relationship building left a deep and lasting impression and forged a connection that will take us back to Tingley Glass in Dickson City again and again.

The words of Bob Burg I heard on Marty Wolff’s radio program, The Business Builders Show, say it all:

‘Your truth is how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

Happy Birthday America

(To be continued)

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