The Irishman with the king size heart is now the King of Hartts, Carhartt's that is.
Mike Sweeney of Sweeney's Clothing in Soldotna was officially recognized last week by a team of Carhartt executives that came all the way from Carhartt headquarters in Dearborn Michigan to present Sweeney with the prestigious Hamilton Carhartt award for achievement in sales and customer service.
According to Robert Howell, Chief Operating Officer for Carhartt, a great deal of research goes into the selection process for the Hamilton Carhartt award, "It's more than just who sells the most garments, we seek out those who embody and promote the integrity and entrepreneurship of our founder Hamilton Carhartt," said Howell.
The Hamilton Carhartt award was created four years ago in honor of the company's founder to recognize the company's outstanding retailers. Annually Carhartt selects seven retailers from among their more than 7,500 accounts to receive the award. "Our company decided we needed to show our retailers how much we appreciate what they do for us, so we came up with a criteria that fits how we want our customers to be treated and matches so well what Sweeney's has been doing here over the years," said Doug Tweedie, Carhartt Account Representative. "Each year we visit the stores that are nominated to view how our product is presented. We want the customers to have a wide selection and full range of sizes to choose from, we judge if the product is just thrown up on the shelves, or is it painstakingly stacked with each size visible so people can quickly find what they are looking for," added Tweedie.
According to Charles Siracusa, Director of Carhartt International Sales, the selection goes beyond the basic criteria, "It's also about entrepreneurship and commitment to the local community, the intangibles of customer service that spell success," said Siracusa.
At a time when many small businesses were feeling the impact of the mega stores coming to the Peninsula, Sweeney's Clothing carved out a specialty market and with the help of his employees, turned those "intangibles" into a successful retail store. "Carhartt has become the most important part of the niche that we have created over the years. It's a product that the people of this community need, the working and outdoor people that want quality and the service that we've been able to offer. To be recognized with this award and to share it with my family and employees really makes me feel good," said Sweeney. The Sweeney family and employees were treated to a banquet at Mykel's restaurant in Soldotna where Carhartt officials presented a beautiful etched crystal loving cup to the happy Irishman. "You bet, it'll be on display at the store right away, so come by and see it and all our new items," said Mike.
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