By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO June 24, 2005 Sullivan Hospitality kicked off phase one of its Sullivan Smiles campaign at Kutshers Sports Academy in Monticello yesterday morning.
The purpose of phase one is a focus on public awareness, said Les Kristt, chairman of the Hospitality Committee.
George Cooke was emcee for the ceremony, which doubled as the unofficial ceremony to introduce Terri Hess as the new president of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce.
Hess, a Jeffersonville graduate, also graduated from Sullivan County Community College and SUNY Oneonta. She has been serving as interim president of the chamber since Jon Westergreen resigned last month.
I am very proud to be a part of the campaign to make Sullivan County what it could and should be, she said.
Kristt introduced Hess as our future president of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, putting to rest speculation that she would accept the post.
The days first speaker was Helen Kutsher, owner of Kutshers. She extolled the virtues of being hospitable to guests of the county.
Kutsher spoke of her experiences in the hospitality business and the lessons she learned over the years.
In the hospitality business, I learned one thing, said Kutsher, your business is your home, and when a customer walks through that door, you treat them as you would a guest in your home.
County Legislator Chris Cunningham was also present for the event and applauded Sullivan County as a county of hardworking people, yet smiling people.
A smile and a personal touch can do wonders for a business, said Cunningham.
Other county legislators in attendance included Sam Wohl and Leni Binder, and Sullivan County Manager Dan Briggs.
Guest speaker Rodney Decker spoke briefly about the importance of customer service and how exemplary service is going above and beyond to meet a customers needs. He also explained that great customer service ensures great customer loyalty.
Decker is owner of People First, a company which helps businesses improve profits by enhancing customer service. He is also the legislative representative for upstate Assemblyman Clifford Crouch.
The ceremony closed with Kristt outlining the committee's ambition.
Our goal for the summer is making people aware that Sullivan Hospitality is alive and well.
After all, as Kutsher put it, Being hospitable is not difficult, because being nice is something you should do every day.