Don’t think customer service makes a difference? Handee Marts’ President and CEO Mike Triantafellou would disagree.
Handee Marts, which operates 67 7-Eleven convenience stores in Pittsburgh, was honored recently with the Pittsburgh Business Ethics Award (PBEA), presented by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, in conjunction with the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh. Awards were presented in three separate categories based on company size and number of employees. Handee Marts won in the small company category.
Triantafellou was quick to credit employees for providing outstanding service, which fuels the company’s long-standing commitment to the community. That commitment includes charitable efforts, such as financial support of the Children’s’ Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Free Care Fund, the biggest benefactor of the company’s charitable efforts. The company raises money for the hospital in various ways, from hosting golf tournaments with vendors to coffee fund-raisers.
“Every winter we run a promotion called the ‘Great Cup, Great Cause,’ where we contribute proceeds from every cup of coffee we sell,” Triantafellou said. “We don’t increase the price of the coffee to raise the funds, but take it out of our regular retail.”
The company’s Slurpee mobile also is known within the community. Handee Marts has a fully-equipped Slurpee trailer that it donates to churches, high schools and other organizations that wish to raise funds for charity.
“We donate the trailer, all the cups, the Slurpee mix and other accessories,” Triantafellou said. “Various employees in our organization volunteer their time and take the Slurpee mobile to the people who want to raise funds for a local charity, and our employees will also work the events if they need help working them. Our employees aren’t paid for that. They do it of their own free will.”
This sort of stewardship from employees is what Triantafello credits with helping the company achieve the ethics award.
“I think the essence of ethical behavior is treating everybody fairly and being a steward, whether it’s in company equipment, company funds, personal funds or your family life; being cognizant of what you do and how it effects others, and conducting yourself in a way that when you go to sleep every night you’re proud of yourself, ” he said.
When it comes to conducting business ethically, Triantafellou said it’s as simple as being above board in business dealings and with employees. ”We (require) that everybody is treated equally on a fair playing field and that no one is taken advantage of,” he said.
Triantafellou is most proud of how the Turner Family, which owns Handee Marts and Turner Dairy Farms Inc., and Handee Marts’ employees were recognized not just by peers, but by the community. “It’s a great honor that has the entire organization proud,” he said.
The award currently rotates around the office, spending time on a different employee’s desk each day, a reminder that the team as a whole is responsible for the company’s success.
Handee Marts also has been nominated in the national category for ethics, results of which are decided in the fall.