By Madie Murray
On the Monday after Black Friday and the busiest time of the year, Will Pelton, Appliances Sales Specialists at Lowe’s in Bellevue, got a call from me saying both of the convection ovens in the school cafeteria had broken down for good and the kitchen was basically out of commission.
You could hear how busy the store was in the background, but this was his reply: “Just wanted you to know you are my top priority and I’m never too busy for you.”
He meant it, and he proved it.
Will worked tirelessly with the Vulcan reps to locate the ovens we specified and get them on a train to Bellevue immediately. He got us a great price on the ovens as well as the shipping and all the extra items necessary for the installation including racks, stacking kit, shelves, pans and thermometers. He worked with our maintenance people to coordinate the electrical needs and with Debbie Guilford, our Food Service Director, and with Vulcan/Hobart to make sure their rep comes in after the installation to complete the set-up.
To make a long story short, two brand new stacking Vulcan convection ovens (500 pounds each) were delivered to the cafeteria exactly ONE WEEK from that phone call. And, Will came with the truck and driver, Dave Long, to help stack and put them into place in the cafeteria kitchen. Not a small feat!
Getting the Lowe’s C & E Grant was not only an enormous monetary gift for our cafeteria kitchen, but the timing could not have been better. We don’t know what we would have done, had that money not been there. And equally important, the people we have worked with at Lowe’s: Jim Wilde, HR Manager, Will Pelton, Dave Long, and Chris Whiting, Bellevue Manager, have been absolutely incredible.
They got exactly what we wanted. They forgave us when we neglected to mention something important in an order like the type of electrical outlet it would need. They were able to get all of the items at prices under what we were expecting to pay, and twice they bailed us out by getting important major pieces of equipment to us quickly that were not anticipated because the old ones irreparably broke down unexpectedly. Cases in point…the 3-door reach-in refrigerator delivered two weeks ago, and these new convection ovens.
The convection ovens were the last equipment items we will be purchasing with the Lowe’s grant money. The balance of approximately $6,000 is being set aside to assist toward the cost of building a long-term storage facility (root cellar) so various foods may be stored in bulk and held fresher longer for use in school menus over an extended period of time. In the meantime, our cafeteria staff can prepare great meals without equipment breaking down. Thank you, Lowe’s!