People, Places & Events




Information gives your sales staff the edge
Special to The Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–High overhead costs are nothing new to large department stores and retail chains. But the results of a sluggish economy typically are new cost-cutting measures, including deep cuts in customer service personnel.
The result is largely a self-service shopping environment that customers may tolerate or even prefer for certain types of purchases, but a nightmare for the customer who has questions or needs help locating an item.
Small retailers must keep tabs on overhead costs too. But they are in a better position to provide the level of service that today’s demanding consumers expect.
Knowledge of your customers’ interests and preferences will enable you to provide a better shopping experience that will be repaid with sales, repeat business and that all-important positive word-of-mouth advertising.
Your sales force should be knowledgeable about the products, trained in the art of customer relations and motivated to do their best through appropriate compensation – particularly if personalized service and specialized products are part of your marketing and sales strategy.
A wise investment in hiring, training and incentives will likely result in a top-notch sales staff that will go out of their way to keep customers happy and your business growing.
These goals are easy to achieve and do not require a formal, structured training program. Routine sales meetings and informal training sessions can enhance employee performance of day-to-day activities.
Encourage discussions to keep up with product innovations, adapting ideas of other retailers (including those outside your market and service area), and changes that can help anticipate customer needs.
Role-playing is also a good way to help your staff handle problems on the floor, including those hard-to-please customers and the question of where to draw the line between being helpful and being pushy.
Remember, all customers want to feel valued even if they say they are “just looking.” You should be ready to offer the best solution to meet their needs, even if that means a referral to a competitor.
By being attentive, knowledgeable and sincerely interested in your customers, you and your staff will go a long way in building their loyalty and a successful business.
If you would like to discuss personalized customer service, personal selling or sales force training, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”
SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors provide free and confidential to advice to entrepreneurs throughout the United States.
There is a SCORE Chapter at The Greater Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Call (903) 887-3152 for an appointment.

Five years of saving lives at Friends of the Animals
Special to The Monitor
GUN BARREL CITY–Friends of the Animals Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, located in Gun Barrel City, just celebrated its fifth anniversary of saving lives by providing affordable spay/neuter surgeries. It is a non-profit charity and performs surgery one day a week by appointment only.
Prices for surgery range from $25 for a male cat to $65 for a giant breed female dog.
The clinic also sells Frontline Plus for control of fleas and ticks on cats and dogs.
Having performed more than 11,500 surgeries in this five years means that literally millions of little unwanted kittens and puppies will not be born – it means fewer feral cats and roaming packs of dogs – it means our community becomes better every day.
For those families for whom even this very low price of surgery is a strain, Friends has several grants to assist with the cost.
The Family Resource Center in Gun Barrel City (Monday-Friday) or the Christian Life Center Food Pantry in Gun Barrel City (Tuesday/Thursday) or the Athens Food Pantry (Monday-Friday) can provide a voucher for this surgery to those who qualify.
A co-pay is required and you must bring your driver’s license, Social Security card and proof of income.
Now there is no excuse for irresponsible pet ownership – and spaying/neutering her/him is the first thing to be done.
Every kitten or puppy allowed to be born means one in a shelter has to die.
If you know people who would take a kitten or puppy, send them to one of the local shelters – they are loaded with the most adorable animals, all waiting for their own families.
The earlier you spay/neuter your pet, the healthier it will be later in life and the quicker they will recover from surgery. Friends’ clinic is doing surgery on animals as young as 3 months.
Open since July of 2002, Friends’ clinic also does microchipping.
For $20, a tiny microchip is painlessly inserted into the scruff of the pet’s neck. If the pet ever ends up at a shelter, the staff there will scan him, find the owner’s number and the pet is returned home.
No appointment is necessary for this quick procedure but it is done only on Tuesdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Dr. Glen Campbell, a Dallas veterinarian who comes to Gun Barrel City each Tuesday to perform the surgeries, was named by D Magazine as one of the best vets in Dallas.
And flea season is here with a vengeance! Friends’ clinic sells Frontline Plus ranging from $26 for a 3-month supply for cats to $31 for a 3-month supply for giant breed dogs.
The Friends’ clinic is run primarily by volunteers.
To make an appointment for surgery or to find out about volunteering, call (903) 887-PETS (7387).
Visit the website at 


Pinnacle Women gear up for 10th garage sale
Special to The Monitor
PAYNE SPRINGS–The much-anticipated annual Pinnacle Women’s Club (PWC) garage sale is right around the corner.
Mark your calendars 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Lighthouse Baptist Church, Payne Springs, between Gun Barrel City and Malakoff on State Highway 198.
“This is our second year at the Church and we are very excited to be able to utilize the extra space and provide our shoppers with a climate-controlled environment.
“More than 150 of our families have been collecting items all year to donate to the sale,” PWC garage sale co-chairperson Elaine Bownes said.
Once again, the “boutiques” will be featured. Upscale men’s and women’s clothing will be displayed in designated areas, along with the “Kid’s Korner,” “The Library,” and the “Home Décor Nook.”
In addition, furniture, sporting equipment, linens, house wares, holiday decorations, electronics, music, videos, tools, casual clothing, accessories, shoes and more will be available.
This is truly a garage sale disguised as a department store. The giveaway is another highlight, and this year will include a very generous Wal-Mart gift card, two restaurant packages and a beautiful handmade quilt.
Each year this event grows, and in an attempt to make it better, the garage sale committee incorporates new ideas to make it run smoother.
This year there will be additional checkout stations to help with the congestion and a parking plan is being formulated to minimize traffic concerns.
As always, the proceeds of the garage sale go directly back into the community to support college scholarships for area youths and other needs of local charitable organizations.


Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

My name is Bronco. I am a goodlooking male Beagle. I was brought to the Shelter by my owners who were moving and could not take me with them. I am not housebroken but I am good with kids and other dogs. I am a handsome young man looking for my forever home.

My name is Ollie. I am a very sweet little guy. I love to run and jump and play, play, play. I was brought to the Shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I am a good kid looking for my new forever home.

My name is Duke. I am a wonderful young chocolate Lab. I was brought to the Shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I walk on a leash, seem to get along with others and also am full of energy. I am a wonderful young man looking for my forever home.

My name is Nikki. I am a beautiful female white Terrier mix. I was brought to the Shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I am very sweet and very energetic and seem to love kids. I am fixed and current on my shots. I am a beautiful girl looking for my new forever home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at