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Who is Apple Awards, what do we do and how can we help you honor and recognize achievement and loyalty to your organization and the people closest to you?

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Birkie 2015!

It's almost here! February 19-22, 2015 the races will be run!

I was in Hayward, Wisconsin last week and ski fever was in full swing.  The 50k American Birkebeiner creates a lot of excitement at Apple Awards too since they are located in Hayward and are among its supporters.  This race has been described as a form of citizen olympics because it is open to anyone who wants to compete, from countries all around the world.  It has grown from 30 some skiers the first year to over 10,000 and is a major winter event for the small northern Wisconsin town. 


It's also described as a "lifestyle" that gets people on the Birkie Trail in all four seasons - walking, snowshoeing, skiing, and biking on the associated single track trails as well as the main thoroughfare.  Local residents not only keep the trail groomed and ready but also enjoy it's use as members of the trail association.  My niece and nephew ski the trail regularly with the high school ski team and their parents, owners of Apple Awards, are avid skiers as well.  Last week the discussion was all about snow, and the hope was that more would come before the race.  

To share the excitement with all Apple Awards's clients, Dennis asked that we highlight this year's race in a blog post.  For any of you who want a quick four minute taste of last year's course, you can get it by clicking here.  As I researched the race on Youtube I found there was no way I could stop at four minutes.  I found a video of the 2013 race, the whole first half, with over two hours of snowy woods and thousands of people making their way up and down the hills taken from a hat cam on one of the participants.  

There was already snow on the trail in November this year and we had a great time getting out there, looking at all the beautiful whiteness and skiing.  Well, some of us skied.  I walked and spent a great deal of time in the warming cabin by the fireplace, but even that was fun.  

Here's hoping that all of you are enjoying this glimpse into the American Birkie, and enjoying winter, whatever it's like in your neck of the woods!


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What They Were Really Doing, Part 2


It's been a month since the boss went away on vacation and i dropped in to see what went on in his absence (see post All in Fun) He's been back for a while now and today he was busy plowing a foot of clean, white snow from the Apple Awards parking lot. Winter cold has descended. But inside the workplace it is warm and busy. One of the warmest commodities is the customer service offered by all working there. Let me give an example.


Apple Awards has gone through several transformations to become what it is at present. In a former stage, in a different location and under the business name Precious Moments, it offered services and products to clients which it has phased out and no longer offers or advertises. Long term employee Stacey had helped a particular client with a complicated, recurring order and had gotten to be a valuable resource for the client.


What to do when the business decision was made not to solicit time intensive orders of this kind any more? Well, you continue to work with a client who has come to depend on your expertise. Every year since, Stacey has worked to fill this order, not only to supply product, but also conferring with the client and helping to organize the order and making sure it is accurate. I happened on Stacey a few weeks ago as she was wrapping up the order – it was her project and she cheerfully explained why she was doing it. It is just the way Apple Awards treats their customers. And that is one of the reasons it is nice and warm inside Apple Awards, in every way.  


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A Relationship is More Than a Building

Famous Daves restaurant destroyed by fire

Photo by permission of Sawyer County Record, Hayward, Wisconsin


Up in flames.  Headlines in local papers on November 3 showed the fiery demise of Famous Daves restaurant in Hayward, Wisconsin. Or rather, the demise of a building that housed the restaurant.  The beautiful location of the first and original Famous Daves BBQ was on Round Lake just a few miles from my home.  Since it opened in 1994 I've eaten there numerous times, had relatives who worked there, and been the recipient of the owner's generosity.  

In the 20 years since it's inception Famous Daves has taken on a life of it's own, become a corporation with publicly traded stock and over 190 franchise locations. It has become a local legendary success story because it all started in Hayward, with a dream. Dave Anderson, who owned only the original location which is now in ashes has encouraged employees with plans to start serving his barbecue recipe out of a pole building on his farm if necessary until the restaurant can be rebuilt.  And if he does, I will eat there, for sure.

It was sixteen years ago that Apple Awards began a business relationship with Famous Daves, one that has continued through the years.  Apple Awards owner, Dennis Smith has this to say about that relationship,

"This restaurant has been a customer of ours for 16 of their 20 years.  We want to show our gratitude and condolences to Dave and all their staff and hopefully will be able to find a way that we can give back and help them rebuild and get their employees back to work."

And when they get back to work, serving the best barbecue in northern Wisconsin,  I'm guessing they will still be wearing name tags like this...


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All in Fun

October.  This is wedding anniversary month of Apple Award owners, Dennis and Mary Pat Smith.  One of their most appreciated business philosophies is that workers should have time off for creative refreshment and in setting an example they are celebrating their anniversary in a lovely location away from home.  I thought I'd check in to see what is going on at AA while the boss is gone...

I was surprised to find out that the Apple crew knows how to have fun at work especially  even when the boss is gone. "I am really busy right now," Stacey told me. "Got a special project."



Kate was busy too, evidently another special project that needed Stacey's assistance. 


Bill also was doing some... work? 


I was worried that maybe they needed some help, being that they were very "busy" and the phone was still ringing, the computer whirring and apples needing to be glued and polished.



b2ap3_thumbnail_20141016_115407_resized.jpgI did my best. (But you might want to check that one order because I'm not sure if they said 50 apples or 500, and they hung up on me rather quickly.)


All in fun.  Check my next post to find out what they were really doing. 

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Meeting Challenges

It's September 11, 2014 and today's news coverage is all about remembering the challenges of 9/11/2001.  A creed comes to mind which was used that year by the USPS in a commercial.  It describes a response of Americans in general to challenges of many different kinds. It goes like this:

"We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride.  And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever."

Going about their lives at Apple Awards got a bit challenging for the team last week.  On Wednesday toward the end of the day they received an order of a "rush" sort.  Thursday morning the area was struck by a wind and hail storm that took out their electricity, downed 40 trees on the property and did a lot of physical damage.  

The generators had to be set up in order to run computers and the laser engraving equipment.  With these production issues temporarily solved the team got to work making the proofs and submitting them to the client.  With the green light to go ahead, they worked steadily on the engraving of the cast aluminum apples until the order was complete. It was shipped out second day air on Friday morning.  It was another episode of teamwork and dedication to customer service which has become second nature to all at Apple Awards. 





All this to show that a storm is only going to make this team rise to the challenge. 

I found one other variation of the famous, oft used creed, and I like it a lot.  It's from Adventures in Odyssey, "rain or shine, snow or sleet, we deliver your mail (but sunny days are optional)."  I will have to ask the Apple team what they think of that one...





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