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Area businesses keep their customers in mind

Local bank, credit union, hotel win reader review awards

Albert Lea Tribune readers selected Security Bank, Accentra Credit Union and Country Inn & Suites as the winners of a customer service contest printed in the newspaper.

Winning first place was Security Bank, which started in 1906 as Manchester State Bank. In 1945, the bank was sold to brothers Art and Ed Lund. In 1946, the Lund brothers relocated the bank to the north side of Albert Lea, and the present facility was built in 1976. The company has 30 employees.

“We are truly honored and humbled to have been chosen as the Tribune readers’ best customer service choice,” said Julie Claussen, bank vice president. “Our staff at Security Bank is dedicated in providing our customers with the long-standing tradition of the best customer service possible and will always greet you with a friendly smile.”

Claussen said the employees try to go the extra mile to guide their customers through whatever banking services they need.

Security Bank is at 437 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea. –
Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

The written responses submitted to the newspaper cited “great service,” “fun events for customers year round” and good rates financially.

Others cited local ownership, consistent service and a respect of privacy.

Winning second place in the contest was Accentra Credit Union.

Accentra Credit Union began in 1930, and the Albert Lea branch opened in 2006.

Nomination forms for this company cited the business as being professional, private and yet fun to work with.

“They treat me fair and are very friendly,” another form states.

The third-place business was Country Inn & Suites.

In business since 2000, the hotel won the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Medium Business of the Year in 2013 and the president’s award through Carlson corporation this year. The president’s award identifies the Albert Lea hotel as being within the top 10 percent of all Country Inn & Suites locations in the whole country.

The hotel’s general manager, Heather Lee, said the company is presently ranked 22 out of over 500 companies and is ranked No. 1 in Minnesota.

“That’s all how it relates to customers,” she said.

The business strives to be one step ahead of its competition in making sure its customers have a memorable experience.

The hotel has guest receptions a couple nights a week and offers different breakfast items that aren’t on a normal breakfast menu at a hotel.

It hosts community events, including a Halloween carnival and the Eddie Cochran cruise-in, and there are a few new things planned for later this year.

The rooms were all updated over the winter, and this fall renovations are planned in the front lobby and breakfast areas.

A nomination form for this business cited dedication by management and staff to its guests and the ease of rental for the party room and equipment.

Connie Heavner, Tammy Kesler and Kris Heavner work in customer service at Security Bank in Albert Lea. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune