A visible sign of thanks


By KATIE MCDOWELL/General Manager

Turkey takes center stage this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

In the Shelby County Reporter newsroom, however, the hot dog – that most American of foods – ranks number one. From August through October, the newsroom was home to a “Customers of the Month” trophy presented by the Great American Hot Dog Stand.
The Great American Hot Dog Stands serves hot dogs (of course), smoked sausage and all-beef brats once a week in Columbiana. Owner Mark Lollar travels throughout south Shelby County with his hot dog cart each week, although I doubt any business is as excited to see him as ours is.

I have not had the chance to sample his hot dogs, but my co-workers assure me they are fantastic. They are clearly fans, since they won “Customer of the Month” for three months in a row – an honor that meant more to the newsroom than our 11th consecutive win this summer for the state’s best community newspaper.

The trophy received a place of honor on the desk of Sports Editor Alec Etheredge, who played a big role in the win. He had a lot of help from the newsroom and design department as well.

The Shelby County Reporter staff surrendered the trophy to the Shelby County Courthouse in November, but they are already plotting their comeback for December. (Courthouse employees, you have been warned.)

The trophy is a simple and silly way to say thanks to loyal customers. It’s a visible, tangible “thank you,” and I had forgotten how good that can feel.

My goal this holiday season is to show my thanks in different ways: cards for my daughter’s teachers, baked goods for my neighbors. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even create a trophy the reporter who writes the most-read web story each month. It certainly seems to have motivated my office.

I can’t afford to buy a trophy or even a card for all of our readers, but I hope you all know how thankful we are for your support. It is an honor to tell the stories of Shelby County, and it is one we value. I hope you and your family have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.