WEST DES MOINES — It may not be an official position within the city of Pella, but ask any regular shopper at the Pella Hy-Vee who the “mayor of Hy-Vee” is and they’ll point you to Ben Rempe.
Ben, a member of the courtesy team at the Pella Hy-Vee for the last 24 years, can always be counted on to greet customers by name, to make parents and children smile as they shop, and to hold an umbrella over the head of a customer during the pouring rain.
That’s why fellow employees, family members, customers and Hy-Vee executives gathered at the Pella Opera House today to surprise Ben with the Legendary Customer Service Award. The award recognizes exemplary achievement in providing service that exceeds customers’ expectations. Only nine winners were selected from among more than 85,000 Hy-Vee employees across eight states.
“Ben has a remarkable gift for delivering truly legendary customer service,” wrote Jeff Mueller, district vice president for Hy-Vee’s west central district, in Ben’s nomination. “When we read through all the nominations in support of Ben, it came up again and again how Ben is always friendly and has a way of making sure that he does everything he can to make customers’ days better.”
Ben’s helpful smile extends to every area of the store and the Pella community. Ben even wears his red Hy-Vee polo to church, and makes sure that every customer he sees is greeted by name and that he asks about the events going on in their lives.
“To this day, I remember during my very first week at the Pella Hy-Vee saying to another manager that I don’t know how anyone can have a bad day with Ben Rempe working here,” wrote Derek Sparks, district store director for the Pella Hy-Vee. “I can truly say he loves his customers, his family and Hy-Vee. They are what he truly lives for. You just can’t beat the impact he has had on his customers and his town for the past 20-plus years.”
Candidates are nominated for the Legendary Customer Service Award by their co-workers, and winners are selected by a panel of Hy-Vee’s top officers. Nominations are evaluated on the employee’s overall contributions to the company in nine areas: passion for customer service, attitude, initiative, teamwork, problem-solving skills, dedication to Hy-Vee fundamentals, communication skills, professional image and self-confidence.
Hy-Vee’s Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker said Ben demonstrates exactly the type of caring commitment to others that Hy-Vee leaders had in mind when the Legendary Customer Service Award was established in 2006.
“Ben lives out the things Hy-Vee stands for in everything he does while providing helpful and dedicated service to our customers. His nominators pointed to example after example of his commitment to his customers, his co-workers and his community,” Edeker said. “This award honors the best of the best from among our Hy-Vee family, and Ben is most deserving of this recognition.”
Ben and the other 2020 recipients of the Legendary Customer Service Award will be inducted into Hy-Vee’s Customer Service Hall of Fame and receive a coveted Legendary Customer Service name badge and a custom-designed ring to commemorate the honor. Recipients will also receive a crystal trophy and a free trip of their choice. And finally, their photos will be prominently featured on the side of Hy-Vee trucks, showcasing their helpful smiles to millions of travelers across the Midwest.