Read about how Hamid Chaudhry earned the support and love of his community with good old-fashioned customer service. Just as important, look at how he built a thriving, profitable business in a competitive industry and a bad economy.
It’s all about giving back to the community:
Mr. Chaudhry decided to give back to the community, and held an elementary-school fund-raiser in which he provided the parent-teacher organization with 25 percent of the sales. Though the $450 seemed a generous amount, the publicity he received did not seem right to him.
“It felt like I got more in return than what I was giving,” he says.
Just like that, the Dairy Queen began to become the center of communal good, notwithstanding its contribution to the high obesity rate recorded among adults in Berks County. Mr. Chaudhry immersed himself in fund-raising, splitting everything 50-50 so that he only covered his costs. Good for promoting the business, yes, but also good for Hamid.
Fund-raisers for a father of four with cancer; for the Children’s Miracle Network; for soccer teams and Little League teams and the widow of a deputy sheriff recently killed in a shootout — he was a regular customer who liked Blizzards. Sponsorship of car washes and high school homecomings and blood drives four times a year. (Donate a pint of blood and get a $20 frozen cake.) Free parties held at every local elementary school, as well as at a Bible school run by the Mennonite church.
“My customers have made me well-to-do,” Mr. Chaudhry explains. “They patronize me, so why wouldn’t I give back?”
He gets up to hand a check to Tracey Naugle, the president of one of the local parent-teacher organizations who sits at a nearby table, enjoying a chocolate cone. Typical Hamid, she later says. She recently helped to organize a modest fund-raising event at Dairy Queen for a children’s swim team. “Hamid gave me a check for $1,000,” she says. “And I know we didn’t make $1,000 that night.”
Every community has its magnetizing place: a post office, a diner, a coffee shop. Here it is the Dairy Queen, Ms. Naugle says, mostly because of Mr. Chaudhry.