Hy-Vee heralds local florist

Published 10:52 am Saturday, August 28, 2010

Albert Lea Hy-Vee floral Manager Cheryl Overland hugs one of her co-workers Friday after being awarded the company's 2010 Legendary Customer Service Award. Overland is one of only nine winners chosen each year out of more than 56,000 Hy-Vee employees. -- Photos by Sarah Stultz

Local Hy-Vee floral manager Cheryl Overland got the surprise of her career Friday when local, regional and corporate Hy-Vee officials, along with her co-workers, friends and family, presented her with the company’s most prestigous award for customer service.

Overland, of Albert Lea, was named the winner of Hy-Vee’s 2010 Legendary Customer Service Award — a tremendous honor considering there are only nine winners chosen each year from the more than 56,000 store employees in the entire company.

“When I think about friendliness and customer service, I think about Cheryl,” said regional officer Tim Stupka, from Hy-Vee’s corporate headquarters. “She treats each customer with special care. Her energy is contagious and she helps set the tone for the rest of the store.”

Hy-Vee Regional Officer Tim Stupka presents the 2010 Legendary Customer Service Award to Cheryl Overland of Albert Lea Friday in the local store.

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Overland, who has worked at the store for almost 30 years, has worked as shift manager, perishables manager and most recently floral manager.

“I can’t even describe how thrilled I am,” she said after finding out about the award. “This is a very, very special day.

“I love my job and I love the people I work with. It’s a good place to be.”

Co-worker Lonnie Smith, who nominated Overland for the award, said Overland has a “unique ability to connect with customers and understand what they want and need in any given situation.”

“Cheryl is truly dedicated to making an occasion perfect by adding just the right touch, or giving the extra attention to make each customer feel like the most important person in the store,” Smith said. “Whether they’re ordering flowers for the saddest day of their life, or the happiest, Cheryl treats each customer with caring and respect.”

Denise Broderick with Hy-Vee said there were dozens of letters that came in on Overland’s benefit.

Nominations were evaluated based on the employee’s passion for customer service, attitude, initiative, teamwork, problem-solving skills, dedication to Hy-Vee fundamentals, communication skills, professional language and self-confidence.

Albert Lean Cheryl Overland responds Friday morning after finding out she has just been selected to receive a notable award within the Hy-Vee company.

Hy-Vee CEO Ric Jurgens said in a letter to Overland that was read at the ceremony that being selected for the award is a tribute to the kind of person Overland is.

“I’m proud of you,” he wrote.

Al Weisert, Albert Lea Hy-Vee store director, described Overland as an exemplary employee.

Overland will be inducted into the Legendary Customer Service Hall of Fame. She was also presented with a gold customer service name badge and will receive a custom-designed ring.

She and the other winners will be the guests of honor at their area’s service award dinner. And lastly, her photo will also be featured on the side of Hy-Vee trucks, seen throughout the Midwest.