Dear Denny

Thank you

Dear Denny:


for always being the rock in the Flanagin family.

for being a wonderful father, grandfather, husband, son, brother,  uncle, brother-in-law, cousin, nephew and best friend to so many.

for being such a gentle soul.

for being a good buddy to my brother since childhood.

for serving our country during the Vietnam War.

for being a true patriot all your life.

for all your selfless service to your community.

for your unwavering faith in God.

for being the Godfather to our daughter.

for being such a wonderful brother to my husband.

for being a faithful husband to Barb.

for raising such wonderful children.

for attending every family event with such enthusiasm.

for never giving up, even to the very end.

for showing us how to die with dignity.

We will miss you “Uncle Denny”, our lives will not be the same without you.

You were a good man.



Published in: on April 30, 2011 at 5:29 am  Comments (4)  

Can the Post Office be saved?

Who do I think I am talking about saving the post office?

I am only one of thousands of customers that use the post office daily.  I am not here to bash the post office, I actually need them to survive or I am out of business too. I am here to talk about what I observe.

Called the post office all morning yesterday, no one picked up the phone.   I actually wasted all morning trying to get an answer to an important question.

Email was not an option because the person with the answer is pulled from their desk every morning to perform other tasks because they are short-handed.

Have you ever tried to find the phone number of your local post office in the phone book?  It’s not under “P”, it’s not under “US”.  I often get calls at my business from frustrated postal customers asking me if I have the phone number to the post office.

It is possible they don’t want to be interrupted all day long by their customers?

Evaluate your customer service through the eyes of your customers.

Can the post office be saved?  First step, focus on serious, committed customer service.

What do you think the post office can do to improve their customer service?

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I was raised in a very conservative household.  Neither parent would have ever owned their own business.

The Big Reveal

The suspense is over.  Today is the preview of our work in progress.

The “theme” of our remodel is Yesterday’s Main Street USA.

We are creating a bakery, general store, a railway station, a barber shop, a cinema, a dress shop, and of course a post office.

Keep in mind this is the basic “dress”, if you will, but we have not yet added all the bling.








In future posts, I will give you details on how we are doing this on a shoestring budget.

In the words of a friend of mine “It’s all about the customer”.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me: I was good in algebra and not so good in geometry.  Oh my, what does that say?

We’ve only just begun

Sneak Peek #1

Sneak Peek #2

Sample customer comments about our remodel:

This is so cool

I am so impressed

Has anyone done a write-up on this?

It smells like a bakery in here?

Where did you get this idea?

You have incorporated the senses too, the music, the smell, the visual

I love the music

What does 1952 stand for?

When you’re finished, call me I will do an article on this

Can I take pictures, I want my friend to see this

It reminds me of the Museum of Science and Industry

My comment:  Please come by again, we’ve only just begun.

Any idea what we are doing?

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Bought my first computer in the early 1980’s.

Pardon our construction

Pardon our construction


We do not have a very big reception area so there didn’t seem to be much we could do to remodel except paint, hang some pictures and keep it neat and clean. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I was frustrated with that.  What could we do with a small area that would make it different?  A place that was not like every other business in town.

We did not start with the complete vision, things just began to evolve.

First the wall, then the awnings and then the lamp-post.  It began to take on an outdoor feel indoor.

~~ It takes a village to raise a child. ~~

At Flanagin’s it takes a child to build a village.

Are you with me?

Tomorrow,  the idea comes to life.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I enjoy resale shops and garage sales. 

Strange inspiration


I walked past this piece at the resale shop three times before it hit me.

It was only $25.00 and it was perfect for our vision.

It is one of the focal pieces of the remodel.

What on earth could we be doing with an old mirror? Any ideas?

Do you have any guesses yet on the overall look of the remodel?

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  My husband ran over my class ring with a bulldozer by accident when we were dating.  I married him anyway! 🙂

Come along for the ride – DIY remodel



We are in the process of transforming our guest reception area.

It is garnering so many comments that I have decided to take you along for the ride.

It all started with a wall just to separate our guests from our “mess”.

It is turning into the most unusual idea and we are having a blast in the process.

I hope you enjoy the ride.

Have a wonder-filled day.

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I have a vision and a daughter with the talent to bring it to life.

Published in: on April 19, 2011 at 7:16 am  Comments (1)  

The Flanagin Faires – A Special Celebration

Today and tomorrow the Flanagin Fairies will be appearing at two different birthday parties.  Doing birthday parties is not our primary purpose but in these two cases we just couldn’t resist.

Several weeks ago I received two phone calls requesting the Fairies attend their birthday party.  One had seen us at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk and one had seen us at a gas station.  That’s right, a gas station.

If you follow my blog, you may remember this heartwarming story. (Click Here) to read “Was it Fate – a Flanagin Fairy Story”.

Well the surviving twin is turning one year old and we will be there to help them celebrate.  It will be our pleasure.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I survived an emergency landing of a small plane that had lost one engine.  I have not been in a small plane since.

Published in: on April 16, 2011 at 6:48 am  Comments (3)  

One workshop you don’t want to miss

Attn: All businesses in NWINDIANA. For the first time, Disney’s approach to Business Excellence is coming to Valparaiso on August 16th from 8:00 to 4:00 at the Valparaiso University Harre Union.  This is one workshop you don’t want to miss, I promise.

The Disney Difference as described by a fellow DI (Disney Institute) alumnus David Balentine.

“Because of what DI involves, it’s more than just sitting in a ballroom watching slides while a moderator regurgitates every word on the screen.

It’s a living demonstration on how to do your best, to offer the best, because your customers deserve the best.”

Call the Valparaiso Chamber today and reserve your seat. 462-1105

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 7:31 am  Comments (4)  

Is five day delivery in the future for the post office?


Do you think customer service is a high priority at the post office?

I think we all will agree that the post office does a phenomenal job of delivering mail.  Put a letter in the mail one day, and it ends up in the hands of the recipient the next, sometimes even with the wrong or insufficient address.  Think about that.  Millions of pieces of mail moved all across the country every day with precise accuracy.

I think we also know they are in a financial crisis.

They are proposing 5 day delivery, already removed many corner blue mail boxes, and are consolidating or closing many post offices while simultaneously telling us customer service is important to them.

Customer service is not measured by what you say but by what you do.

Why not try upsetting the apple cart?

Can you imagine this television commercial by the post office professing their commitment to customer service?

“We are going to institute 7 day delivery, with all post offices being open 9 – 5,  7 days a week and if there is ever a line longer than 5 people, we will open another window.  We promise you will be greeted with a smile and we will find a solution to your mail needs.”

Radical?  Yes.

Impossible?  Maybe.

“If your goal isn’t impossible, you’re not reaching high enough”… jeff noel.

What do you think the post office could do to improve their customer service?

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  The post office is essentially my business partner.  I live with their decisions.

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