A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Special business relationships are important, despite minor inconveniences

By Steve Flairty
NKyTribune columnist

We all know that trust is of utmost importance in most human interactions, and I’ve found that it is a crucial aspect in the long term. It’s so important that even distance apart, in many cases, shouldn’t come between the need to nurture and keep that trust. Business/service relationships are no different.

I’ve never had a job with a huge salary, so I’ve watched my finances closely in order to live comfortably, if not luxuriously. The person who does my taxes is based in Winchester, where I hired him almost four decades ago while living there. He’s a highly skilled accountant with a CPA, and I believe he was a good fit to help me with, first, the baseball card business I once owned, and in recent years the business of selling books.

(Photo illustration by steve Flairty)

So, when I moved to Lexington in 1995, I kept him. When I moved further away to Versailles in 2016, I continued to use his professional services. There are plenty of tax people closer, but a couple of one-hour trips a year are worth it.

Why have I kept the same tax man? He does a great job and likely saves me money. But more than that, he’s always been fair and honest. He knows and often asks me about my personal life, and he returns calls and emails promptly. I believe he cares as much about my well-being as he does of the dollars he gains from me. That is a recipe for relationship sustainability, and it has worked out that way for nearly forty years.

Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of seven books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and six in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #5,” was released in 2019. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly NKyTribune columnist and a former member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

When it comes to taking care of my teeth, it’s obviously crucial to have a good dentist, and there are many out there. But if you’re like me, a visit for a dental checkup probably finds you spending most of your time with the attending hygienist who cleans your teeth and sometimes takes x-rays. Often, the dentist—unless doing a specific procedure such as fillings or extracting teeth–takes a couple of minutes to look things over and is soon on the way (not a criticism).

When my hygienist left her job to join another dental practice, I followed her.

I like my former dentist, but the long-time service (at least ten years) with his attending hygienist is very important to me, a person who is sensitive to the matters of my teeth and gums. She is respectful, skilled, and amazingly patient.

She also has a good sense of humor, which is helpful while spending a half hour with my mouth open and her, with her dental tools, hovering around it. Because of the trust I have in her and her expertise, I plan to stick with her.

Most of us are careful about how our hair looks, and I am no exception. The same person has cut and styled mine for about twenty years. She knows what I want my locks to look like and makes it happen. We always share friendly banter about our families and our jobs. I like how she is flexible with making the appointment times work and she is consistent in her performance. I see no reason to change, even though I’m now in a different town and the drive is longer.

I value trust in the people I depend on for services, even if it means foregoing slightly lower prices from others. Sticking with them helps to eliminate needless extra stress in my daily life. Over time, it adds up big and allows me to use my residual energy for new challenges. With that, I’m more productive.

What about you? Do you hold on to the special business relationships in your life, or do you like to make frequent changes, which may involve some risk? No perfect answer, but I lean toward long and faithful service.

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Knowing personally how refreshing mentally and physically it is to engage in gardening, I look forward to getting my hands on a particular children’s book soon to be released. It’s one I hope to share with elementary classes while substitute teaching. My wish is to encourage students to get started gardening at a young age. That, along with sharing some life lessons taught by the book.

The book is called Leira Clara’s Flowers, a 34-page paperback with art in vibrant watercolors, authored by Doris Dearen Settles and illustrated by Dana McCall. In the story, a small girl learns about and is inspired to see the benefits of gardening. Her instructor is her beloved grandmother. The girl uses her newfound flower passion to encourage others, in particular a surly neighbor, Mr. Thorney.

According to the author, the book “demonstrates the ability of a child to understand that loneliness can lead to unhappiness and grumpiness and that gardening and flower-sharing have the power to heal and to open one’s heart to kindness, sharing and happiness.”

Leira Clara’s Flowers is published by Shadelandhouse Modern Press and is available at smpbooks.com.

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