Kevin Zeigler has worked several service industry jobs since moving to town to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design.
He’s enjoyed them all, but only recently did he find one he considers fulfilling.
“I love service jobs because I love talking to people, but the boss was always after me for talking to people too long,” Zeigler said. “Working in a liquor store, you can talk to people as long as you want.”
Zeigler, the general manager at River Street Liquor, is an exceptional talker. His persona earned him the 2012 Ron Higgins Memorial Award for customer service from the Savannah Downtown Business Association (SDBA). The SDBA honored Zeigler and seven others Wednesday during the annual Celebration of Service Luncheon at the 45 Bistro.
“These people personify what we mean when we talk about service that always rocks,” said Roger Moss, co-founder of the Savannah Children’s Choir and presenter of the awards.
Zeigler was surprised to receive the Higgins Award. River Street Liquor is a new business, opening on River Street’s east end just six months ago. Zeigler started working there in June and took on the general manager’s role in July.
He made an immediate impact on customers. River Street Liquor is housed in a small and shallow storefront, making it appear more like a “liquor cabinet than a liquor store,” Zeigler said.
“We stock some rare stuff, and each seems to have its own story,” Zeigler said. “And I love to tell stories.”
Another strong storyteller, restaurateur Jamie Deen, gave the keynote address at the event. He gave a brief history of his family’s business, anchored by The Lady & Sons restaurant, and credited the value his mother, Paula Deen, placed on customer service for their success.
“We didn’t have the education as far as culinary or management; so we put manners first,” Deen said. “We built our business on having the best cooking and the best service at the best price.”
Ron Higgins Memorial Award nominees
Eight service industry workers were honored during the Savannah Downtown Business Association’s annual Celebration of Service Luncheon on Wednesday at the 45 Bistro. River Street Liquor General Manager Kevin Zeigler won the Ron Higgins Memorial Award. The other nominees were:
Cheryl McQueen (River Street Inn)
Mike Lombardo (Auto Intensive Care)
Shawn Kelly (Auto Intensive Care)
Lisa Atwell (Atwell's Art & Frame)
Marc Dunston (The Magic Puppet)
Phillip Sadler (The Magic Puppet)
Leslie Broom (The Thunderbird Inn)