by Lisa Tome
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
That's why Chesapeake City Mayor Dean Geracimos has encouraged the staff at town hall to answer the phone in a memorable way.
On any given day, the person answering the phone at the town hall will say a variation of the phrase "It's a great day in Chesapeake City."
"It's positive reenforcement. When anyone calls, they are hearing something positive on the phone," said Geracimos. "When somebody calls, I want them to get the feeling that they want to be here."
Doris Gribble, is assistant to the mayor. She has worked at town hall for eight years. She likes answering the phone using the unique way.
"Sometimes we slip and say 'it's a wonderful day'," said Gribble. "The mayor says it too."
Four people, three women and one man, work at the town hall. They share duties of picking up the phone.
"He (Geracimos) wants people to like Chesapeake City and know it's a wonderful place. To be honest, we all love it here," said Gribble. "We answer the phone that way, even at night or on weekends."
She admits that not every day is great at town hall. Problems do crop up. "We had a hard time. The water bills were late and we had some shut offs," she said.
She said it often takes people aback, if they aren't accustomed to calling the town. She said that some residents take a moment and ask why employees continue to answer the phone using the same slogan.
"I say 'it's a great day to be in Chesapeake City' every time I answer the phone, at the mayor's request," said town project manager T.J. Gray.
People sometimes say 'yes, I've been there, I know'. Or people say 'we're coming'. We get an overwhelming positive response.
Some people play off their words.
"We say it's a great day to be in Chesapeake City. And the caller says 'it would be, if I didn't get a parking ticket.' We laugh with them," said Gray.
He also said the opening line opens the door for questions about the weather, boat slip access, or coming events in the town.
Geracimos, who is a business owner, said a call to any of his companies will also leave callers with a unique first impression.