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Store manager’s heart: Customer service

MACON, Ga. (BP)–Serving at the LifeWay Christian Store in Macon, Ga., is a family tradition for Daren DuBose, who has been named as the chain’s 2007 manager of the year.

DuBose began working at the Macon location 17 years ago as a high school student. His sister, then a LifeWay store employee, recommended him for the job.

DuBose’s mother Helen was a long-term LifeWay store employee. While Daren was managing a store in North Carolina, Helen served as store manager for the Macon location, retiring after two years. Even his wife Laura worked for a brief time as a store associate.

LifeWay Christian Stores -– encompassing 146 stores operated by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention -– selects the manager of the year based on financial criteria, customer feedback, professional accomplishments and contributions to LifeWay as an organization.

Regional director Zach Lang said, “I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award than Daren DuBose. When Daren applied for the management training program in 1996, he wrote: ‘I am confident that I have chosen the career God wants for me, and it is my personal vision to be the best Christian retail manager, surpassing company, customer and employee expectations.’ Daren, your personal vision has indeed become a reality.”

Beyond his store’s success, DuBose said he hates the limelight and prefers to focus on his heart for ministry to customers.

“At LifeWay, our customer service sets us apart as well as what we believe,” DuBose said. “We stand on what we believe and make no qualms about it.”

When interacting with customers, DuBose encourages store employees to keep an eternal perspective. “I always tell my staff, ‘You never know when you impact someone.’ For some, we are impacting their eternal security….

“We at LifeWay are seed planters and sometimes we are like pastors, moving people to the next level of their faith,” DuBose said. With regard to the store’s service to pastors, he noted, “It’s important for us to have good reference materials because we have pastors come in, too, and they are the ones that need encouragement and resources because they are preaching and teaching others.”

Store associate Lee Schurter said, “What most impresses me about Daren is that he remembers why we are here and he reminds us, too -– we are here for the Lord and for His namesake,” Schurter said.

DuBose’s humility carries over into his management style. “Never consider yourself top dog,” he said. “The award is not about me. I’m honored and humbled because my staff deserves this award more than I do. I may be the manager, but they are my face to the customers. I couldn’t do this without them. Your staff is what makes you.”
Jenny Rice is a corporate communications specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources.

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