Chamber celebrates the year

Posted 2/13/19

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce honored two very deserving people, as well as a successful 2018, during its annual banquet on Friday.

The several hundred guests assembled at Seton Hall …

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Chamber celebrates the year

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The Madison County Chamber of Commerce honored two very deserving people, as well as a successful 2018, during its annual banquet on Friday.

The several hundred guests assembled at Seton Hall applauded Pat Harper, a fixture at the SonShine Center, as Woman of the Year. Harper has been active in many organizations and causes in the county for many years.

Also, Mayor Bill Parten was named Man of the Year for his leadership and involvement throughout the city.

Madison County native Karen Stevens Altom address the banquet, discussing the virtues of small-town living.

Altom is publisher of Postcards Magazine, which features stories from the area, and runs an advertising agency in Hunstville.

“Since this is a chamber gathering, I’ll talk about business,” she said. “When it comes to business, I’m really passionate about one thing, and that’s customer service.”

Customer service boils down to one thing, and that’s the Golden Rule, Altom said.

“Treat your customers the way you want to be treated,” she said. “Put yourself in their shoes.”

She also said that consistent advertising is important to be successful in business, and pointed out that Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A, which have been around for decades and already are brand names, still advertise, because if they stop, they will no longer be foremost on the consumer’s mind.

Tying the two together, Altom said the best advertising is word-of-mouth, and for businesses that don’t follow the Golden Rule in customer service, they will fail, as unhappy customers are 25 times more likely to tell people about bad experiences.

She said she learned everything about being successful from living in Madison County.

Altom said putting God first, having a supportive family, and respect, as well as the qualities of patience, reverence and being observant all came from growing up in the area.

“Above all, I learned about community, a really special community,” she said. “That’s what we do every month with Postcards; you keep doing it. Keep loving your community.”

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