The premise of the film “Pay It Forward” is making the world a better place with everyday acts of kindness. Photo via youtube.com
A friendly, upbeat interaction at the coffee counter or a well-informed sales employee who guides you through a purchase can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day.
So Celebration! Cinema is honoring the businesses that provide outstanding service in six cities.
Businesses have been nominated for the Celebrate Service Award in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Portage, Benton Harbor, Mount Pleasant and Lansing, and now people have an opportunity to vote for their favorites online.
Voting ends on Nov. 26.
The movie chain's awards are designed, in part, to send the message that "great service should be valued."
“I think that it’s culturally pervasive that we notice when things go wrong, and we wanted to flip that on its head and recognize what it looks and feels like when things go right,” said Emily Loeks, director of community affairs at Celebration! Cinema.
One winning business from each city will receive a $5,000 prize, one year of marketing at Celebration! Cinema, a day-long training event focused on service, 10 passes every month of the year to use as perks for employees providing great service and a VIP party.
The winner and nominees will be honored on Feb. 12 during an awards ceremony in the Wave room at Celebration! Cinema North, from 8:30 a.m.-noon.
The ceremony will include a welcome breakfast and networking, a formal awards program and a presentation by inspirational author and international speaker Deena Ebbert.
Ebbert will talk about The FISH! Philosophy and its four connected principles: play, make their day, be there and choose your attitude.
“We think it’s had an impact on business recipients in past years,” Loeks said. “They do get quite a bit of exposure on our screens for a whole year, and we’ve heard from some that they are encouraged all year long as guests walk through their door and comment on the fact that they saw that recognition and give affirmations of their own. That is really encouraging to their employees, and we hope that it has had an impact, at least a small degree, on their business level and made it more healthy.”
Celebration! Cinema employees were involved in the nominating process.
Each employee was encouraged to recognize occasions when they felt that they had received “celebrated service” from another business in the community.
The employees were invited to express their appreciation to the person providing great service, by giving them a free movie pass with a thank you note.
Employees were also asked to share the service story online in order to get their next free pass to hand out.
Each Celebration! Cinema employee, about 500 total, was asked last month to nominate one business they felt consistently demonstrated celebrated service.
The finalists were selected from the group of nominees in an open process — based on the quantity of nominations, combined with the quality of stories told.
Loeks said the nomination process is a great way to impact Celebration’s internal business culture, as well as recognize inspiring businesses in the community.
“Building culture is an ongoing process, and we are believers in the power of storytelling,” Loeks said. “Of course, we do a lot with teaching and training that is putting practices and systems into place that equip and enable our people to provide great service, but we felt like having all several hundred of our employees telling great stories of great service that they’ve received in the community actually translates into the work that they do and the culture that we are building here in a way that is a little different than other kinds of teaching and training.”
This will be the third year that Celebration! Cinema has produced the Celebrated Service Award.
Previous Grand Rapids winners include Tallarico’s Boardwalk Subs in 2013 and St. Mary’s Healthcare Labor & Delivery in 2012.
Celebrated Service Award 2013, Grand Rapids nominees
Carrettino Italian Market & Wine
D. Schuler’s Fine Wine & Spirits
Fox Shawmut Hills
Lakeside Car Company
Peppino’s Pizzeria & Sports Grill South
The Cheese Lady
The Green Well Gastro Pub
Wyoming Animal Hospital