Archive for People

Let’s Meet Anna Kay

Lizzie Mae Birdseed
All the great philosophers will say that one should never sweat the small stuff. They obviously don’t know much about the logistics of transporting Lizzie Mae seed from our farm to your store to your customers’ backyard feeders.

No detail is too small for us to sweat! It’s like sweat is our middle name. (That’s kinda gross.) We just know that sweating the details is what great customer service is all about.

We used to assign the “small stuff sweating” to a couple of the guys in the barn. But they did too good a job around mid-August if you know what I mean. Now Anna Kaye stays cool and calm while taking care of every detail. Let’s meet Anna Kaye…

What are your job responsibilities for Lizzie Mae?

My work includes letting customers know what day their delivery will be. Running the Credit Cards. Helping enter the orders. Getting the paperwork ready for the drivers & getting the orders to the warehouse guys that do the loading. I also help package the seed cakes we make. (Editor’s Note: This is when my hand cramped up from writing all this down. She does a lot!)

How did you happen to end up working at Lizzie Mae?

Well I started out putting labels on bags here at Stony Hill, and then it got to where I entered orders for Lizzie Mae on Wednesdays. Then I went to the office full time & started to do a lot more things for the business-side of the business.

What’s the best part about your job?

I like to enter the orders. I like to see what the customers order and it starts the whole process. After the orders are entered, it leads to entering the weights on the load sheet and getting the invoices ready for the guys to pick up the orders. And then there’s getting the paperwork ready for the drivers…

What is the strangest thing that ever happened to you while working?

One time I brought in cookies for the gang and put them on my desk. But I got a phone call and it was a lady from a store in Fresno asking if we have some strange feed for yellow-bellied sapsuckers. So that meant I had to walk back into the deepest darkest parts of the warehouse to see if we had this product. But when I get to my desk, she’s hung up and the cookies were gone!

Umm… did she sound like a man trying to sound like a woman?

Now that you mention it, she did sound rather… I want to be nice here… largish

Do you work with any stores in Fresno?

No. Maybe that should have been a clue.

By chance, was Rob in the office that day?

Yes, and what made that day even more strange was when he didn’t order his typical second desert at lunch. Mystery solved!

Let’s Meet MJ Shetler

MJ has been working for Mahlon since he’s been allowed to work. He describes his week as doing a little bit of everything. (Sound familiar to any store owners?)

On Monday and Tuesday he’s helping get the orders prepared for shipping. Wednesday through Friday is spent building bird houses and mixing and shaping and packaging seed cakes. The weekends are for hunting, fishing and catching up on Real Housewives episodes. (We made up one of those facts but we’re not saying which one.)

MJ loves working with family. Mahlon is his uncle but MJ says he’s really more like a brother. And MJ pointed out that deer season starts in two weeks. So yo, Bro, can a guy get a day off for opening day of deer season? Ed’s Note: That was us saying Yo and Bro. MJ and Mahlon are not big Yo-ers.

Let’s Meet Folks from Lizzie Mae

Newsletter Blair ResSome of you already know Blair. He’s one of Lizzie Mae’s drivers and he answered a few questions so we could learn more about him

Who are ya and where do you deliver for Lizzie Mae?

Blair D. Bechtel. I deliver in northern New England/New York City and Long Island.

How many store owners do you meet during a standard day?

On a typical Tuesday I’ll meet between 7-10 stores in New England. A lot of our deliveries we drop and cover so we get in and out before traffic in the shopping centers.

What are some of your duties as part of being a driver for Lizzie Mae?

I deliver the birdseed safely and efficiently to every store, The big thing is communication and our customers are great at communicating. When the bad weather hits that is when they are often in the most need for their seed delivery. It is also when it can be the toughest time to get in to make the deliveries. I have always appreciated how thoughtful my customers are about my safety during the Winter season.

What do some stores do that other stores should do?

A lot of my store owners understand that my actions are not inconsequential. There are strict laws about service hours in the trucking industry. We are only allotted a certain amount of time in a given day to drive, refuel, and take a 10 hour break. In New England the store owners have been very cordial to make provisions with local law enforcement and property owners that allow me to take my breaks at their stores.

What is your most embarrassing or surprising Lizzie Mae moment?

One time I had to call my wife to learn how to use the sucker hose on a dirt devil vacuum cleaner. I needed to clean up a bag of broken millet that I had torn at a delivery when I rolled a skid into a stores’ storage room (Editor’s Note: If he’s calling for directions on how to use a vacuum cleaner, let’s just figure that Blair isn’t doing the “inside” chores around the house.)

Anything else?

Outside of delivering birdseed I am a captain at Town and Country Fire District in West Salem, Ohio. My family includes my wife, Erin, and my daughter, Violet, and we are expecting another addition in October. We have a small gentleman’s farm that includes miniature donkeys, goats, steers, and my daughter’s rabbit, Hoppy.

Lizzie Mae: A Corporate Giant

Lots of people want to know how a dynamic company like Lizzie Mae (Trading as LMBS&DG on the NY Stock Exchange!) could grow so quickly in today’s demanding business environment.

Okay, people are really only wondering how we’re still in business – but that’s only after they meet us! Wait. That doesn’t sound right either.

Lizzie Mae’s corporate charter clearly states that Kevin, Mahlon and Rob take turns being president of the company. Really. July is Mahlon’s month and he’s already abused his power by getting up 30 minutes after sunrise. Twice.

Lizzie Mae's Bird Seed Is Growing

New Review of an Old Movie: The Big Year

How many customers walk into your store and ask you recommend a movie with birds? You sell bird seed, right? So the connection is obvious. Lizzie Mae’s extensive R&D department actually has a movie for you to recommend. It’s another way Lizzie Mae is looking out for you and it is definitely not an excuse for us to take the afternoon off and watch a movie. No. It is not that.

The movie is The Big Year starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin. Three of the funniest actors in moviedom. But the funniest part about the movie is that it is actually not a comedy. Ha! The movie poster shows three comedic actors in a funny pose and the movie is not a comedy. Wait – would messing with the audience’s expectations like that hurt this property at the box office? Umm… yes, apparently so.

So don’t go in expecting an LOL comedy. Instead, expect a warm, carefully crafted story about three men at different stages of life as they go for their Big Year. In the real world, a Big Year for a Birder is 365 days spent trying to see or hear as many different kinds of birds as possible. Birders actually do this and are very serious about it, travelling around the world to achieve their goal. The people who live with these Birders are also very serious and say things like, “Really? This is why you withdrew funds from the 401(k)?”

Now, technically speaking, the movie is about bird watchers and not bird feeders. But guess how many Hollywood movies starring three well-known actors there are about bird feeders? Exactly. (Okay, bonus points for anyone that said Brando kept pigeons on his roof in On The Waterfront. But was it really pertinent to the storyline? He coulda been keeping poodles up there for all it mattered.)

So The Big Year is a nice movie about birding that, seriously, a family could watch together. Maybe not a family with really young children because they want to see talking snowmen. But go find a copy, watch the movie, and be ready to build that connection with your customers.

Back to work for us. Pass the popcorn.

5 Questions With Mahlon Yoder

…with a few editorial comments thrown in

Question 1: What is “Amish Crafted”?
Amish Crafted is our pledge. The finest ingredients prepared with the finest detail. Each bag of seed is filled by skilled Amish workers. Our plant is in the heart of Holmes County, OH. It is Ohio’s largest Amish population. It is also one of the top tourist attractions in Ohio. We run the place without electricity power from the lines by creating our own power with a generator run by natural gas. (Editor’s note: Feel free to tell your customers that Lizzie Mae products are created by a bunch of like-minded radicals living off the grid.)

Question 2: How is Lizzie Mae seed different from the stuff in large stores that also sell snow tires?
Each bag of Wild Bird Food is individually packaged with the intention to fully satisfy the end user or customer. We take extra care in making sure that we are producing the highest quality product available on the market.

Question 3: What should store owners be telling their customers about Lizzie Mae Bird Seed?
Simply put, we do not bring in inferior product from our vendors so we are always sending out a high quality product. Birds love our clean, fresh food.

Question 4: What’s your favorite part of working on the farm?
Producing Lizzie Mae’s Birdseed is my favorite thing on the farm. After that would be the passion and love that I have for working with and being around horses. And totes chillaxing with my homes’ in Holmes County OH. (Editor’s Note: We made up that last part. No idea what it means. Thanks Google!)

Question 5: How is your commute?
What is this commute??? Remember, I am Amish and pack birdseed! 😉