Essex HYVee winner

Mike Huerter, second from left, stands with Hy-Vee Senior Regional Vice President Frank Woodward, right, Mission Hy-Vee Store Director Chris Wiltfong, second from right, and Hy-Vee District Vice President Jamie Stephens, left.

SHENANDOAH — Essex native Mike Huerter was named 2019 Hy-Vee Legendary Customer Service Award recipient.

Huerter is the son of Steve and Barbie Huerter of Essex.

Huerter began working for Hy-Vee as a courtesy clerk in the Shenandoah store in June 1988. He also served as a checker/stocker at the Shenandoah store and was promoted to assistant shift manager in October 1988 and then shift manager in February 1992.

Huerter moved to the Kansas City area in 1996 to work in the Hy-Vee store on Clinton Parkway in Lawrence, Kansas.

For many Hy-Vee customers, ask them about their local store and they’ll tell you about “their” Hy-Vee. When it comes to the Mission Hy-Vee, Mike Huerter makes sure that his store feels like home — even if “home” is halfway across the world.

Huerter, the bakery manager at the Mission Hy-Vee since 2008, is legendary in his commitment to serving his customers and making sure everyone feels welcome and celebrated in the store. That’s why fellow employees, family members, customers and Hy-Vee executives gathered at the Mission Hy-Vee store today to surprise Huerter with the Legendary Customer Service Award.

The award recognizes exemplary achievement in providing service that exceeds customers’ expectations. Only 11 winners are selected each year from among more than 80,000 Hy-Vee employees across eight states.

“Mike is constantly going out of his way to make sure his customers are taken care of,” Mission Hy-Vee human resource manager Toni Lewis wrote in his nomination. “Many times I have heard customers tell me they only come to the Mission Hy-Vee for the service Mike provides. He goes the extra mile to make sure everything is perfect and his customers leave the store happy. He is always there for the customer.”

“Mike’s attitude toward service is genuine,” Mission Hy-Vee store director Chris Wiltfong wrote. “He does things because they are the right thing to do, and he truly enjoys seeing the smiles he generates with his actions. I think he’s the most hugged employee I’ve ever worked with.”

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 Huerter demonstrates exactly the type of commitment to customers that Hy-Vee leaders had in mind when the Legendary Customer Service Award was established in 2006.

“Mike lives out the things Hy-Vee stands for in everything he does — caring, 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 Mike is most deserving of this recognition.”

Huerter and the other 2019 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. They will be guests of honor at Hy-Vee’s service award dinners in October, which honor employees for longevity of service.

They also will be recognized at Hy-Vee’s annual stockholders’ meeting in December, where they will receive a travel voucher good for a trip to a destination 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.

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