March 15, 2009 in Business

Good news tends to get too little attention

Jan Quintrall
 

Does your week sound similar in tone to the following tidbits:

•Last week, I saw a positive headline in the Wall Street Journal regarding the economy. It gave me several minutes of pause, as this so seldom happens.

•Last week, one TV reporter in our three-state service area called to talk about doing a regular feature on the worst business offenders in their area.

•Last week, BBB at the invite of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office participated in the KHQ Help Center for National Consumer Protection Week to answer calls regarding mortgage, debt and other issues affecting consumers. The calls were tough.

•Last week, BBB honored five companies in our service area for their excellence in ethical behavior (and three honorable mentions), and only one reporter called to cover it.

So when you think you’ve had enough news about the fat cat executives taking junkets while they lay off thousands, or shenanigans with financial statements, read on.

For the fourth year, BBB held the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics ceremony at Gonzaga University. Students from Gonzaga, Washington State University and Spokane Community College worked with companies to prepare application submissions, which got them out of the classroom and into the world of business to see just what ethics look like in practice.

There are a variety of ways a business can apply:

•Designated students from participating schools seek out companies to nominate.

•The public can nominate a business.

•A company can nominate itself.

We screen all applicants at bbb.org – they must have a grade of A or B on their company report.

Four areas are reviewed by the judges: management practices, customer/vendor/employee relations, marketing and sales, and community relations.

The judges gather in January to look over the applications and select winners. This year’s judges were: Mike Metcalf, president-elect of the Spokane Chapter of Society of Financial Service Professionals; John Pederson, director of membership, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce; Judi Williams, co-founder of Telect; Carolyn Wyatt, vice president of human resources, Yoke’s Washington Foods; Monica Hampton, store manager of Huckleberry’s Market; and Bert Caldwell, business reporter and columnist with The Spokesman-Review.

This year’s winners were:

•Roundy’s Kawasaki, Spokane Valley (1-10 employees).

•Crimson and Gray Bookstore in Pullman (11-49 employees).

•PCO, Inc in Liberty Lake (50-100 employees).

•Northwest Farm Credit Services with locations in three states (more than 100 employees).

•Big R store on Trent, Spokane Valley (part of a larger corporation).

There were three honorable mentions this year: Merlin Information Systems of Kalispell, Mont.; Moscow Food Co-Op of Moscow; and The Warehouse, a competitive athletic facility in Spokane.

Past winner, KimHotstart Manufacturing of Spokane, gave a $1,000 scholarship to the student team that produced the best overall application. That winner was PCO, Inc.

Wheatland Bank gave a $1,000 scholarship to the best video produced by a student team – the Big R Store on Trent.

Big R held barbecues with its neighbors before expanding its store to keep residents informed about the construction.

PCO has five values, including “heroic customer service.”

Northwest Farm Credit is proud of its deep knowledge of its customers – a unique relationship in these times.

And Roundy’s takes the family business a step farther to include its staff and community.

The management team at Crimson and Gray started its business when a local WSU bookstore was purchased by Barnes and Noble. Their philosophy: “We do what’s best for the students.”

Without Joel C White and Company as well as FSP, we would not have seen the success we did this year. Thanks to the students and businesses who opened their doors, and to the judges and other past winners who chose to celebrate with us.

So for some good news, view these video stories, read about the winners on our Web site and know there are some fine people doing great, ethical and successful business right in our backyard.

Jan Quintrall is president and CEO of the local Better Business Bureau. She can be reached at jquintrall@spokane.bbb.org or (509) 232-0530.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email