Lyndon’s Window

August, 2007

Vacationing in beautiful Hampton, New York today, I watched as a huge storm blew in from nowhere and took out power, phones, and (gasp!) the wi-fi at the Panorama Motel. I’d like to say that without cable or the Internet to distract us, we sat around and roasted marshmallows and told stories. In fact, we’d had a lovely evening doing just that four nights ago, so instead we sought civilization and went out to eat.

As we drove we saw destruction everywhere, on a pretty rare scale for a Lakes Region summer storm, and folks all around pitching in to help clear roads, supervise accident scenes, and direct traffic. The brand new Blue Cat Bistro in Castleton, Vermont benefited from being in one of the very few towns with power, and one of the few without so many downed trees and telephone poles that you couldn’t drive round it. We had a great but slow meal (they were packed), then raced back to the Motel to review our own damage. On the way back I heard the story of Lyndon’s window.

Lyndon was a fellow who came to stay at the Motel some years ago. After a time, he asked to stay on in exchange for work, and as there is always so much to do, my parents said yes. A door on their shed had been having difficulty closing for some time, and Lyndon crafted a plywood “window” that solved the problem and saved money, too. He created a simple enclosure for their new coal furnace that made their winter fuel choice much more workable. He built several structures and made many needed repairs, did his work and became a temporary part of the Panorama’s very large circle of friends.

My parents, the owners of the Panorama Motel, did a good deed and got a great exchange for it. They make no fuss about this charitable attitude. As they see it, they gave nothing away. They want the Motel to be the best it can be for guests. Lyndon’s work offered them an avenue to some improvements in their physical space, and time for them to work on other aspects of their customer experience. The caring hospitality of Peter and Roxann Flynn is an important part of what makes folks choose their place to stay. No fuss at all – you’re simply part of their circle if you’re at the Panorama. They listen, they care, and they treat everyone like family.

Lyndon’s window broke out during the storm today. I don’t know if my parents were remembering it with nostalgia or not, but it certainly caught me. People pitching in on the streets. My parents and Lyndon. In extraordinary times, we all pitch in.

What makes your business extraordinary is every day’s human experience. People buy from people they trust, like, respect… and yes, from people who care about them, in ordinary times. Never miss an opportunity to show true care for your customers.

Have you ever given in your business, and gotten back your own “Lyndon’s window” in exchange? How can you expand that individual attention to your entire customer base? What good deed can you do that will make customers feel like family?

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


Thanksgiving, 2007:

P. S. Visit the Panorama Motel next time you’re wishing for a little room to breathe… winter on the border of New York and Vermont is heavenly!

P.P.S. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share this article on the MCE Blog! Happy holidays, everyone!