Andy’s: Customer Service for the Neighborhood

Andy’s 5th Avenue Quickstop in Cleveland is fueled by customer service, and in case Rule No. 1 slips an employee’s mind, it’s posted at the end of the counter.

Always keep in mind you are here for the customer, not the other way around,” is at the top of the list. At the bottom, there’s another reminder: “If you can lean, you can clean.”

For 15 years, Andy Patel has set the example throughout the day, and whether customers want Mississippi Lottery tickets or a drink from the cooler, the pathway is clear, and the displays make the materials easy to find. Being a Mississippi Lottery retailer is clearly a point of pride for Patel; he can recite his retailer number without looking at the certificate. Of course, it helps that his store was among the very first to become a lottery retailer.

Customers coming in the door are greeted, either by name, or with a lilt-laden “Hey girl” or “Hey boss.” There’s a daily cleaning list, and another reminder to make sure it gets done.

Because of the store’s proximity, just across the two-lane 5th Avenue from the Delta State University campus, it would be easy to assume Andy’s depends on a college-age crowd, but that’s not the case.

“When school is out, business drops, but not enough to worry about,” Patel said. “The locals keep me busy. We’re a neighborhood store.”


On a Wednesday morning in April, most of the store traffic is from walk-ins – not from the parking lot, but from the sidewalk along block after block of houses along the tree-lined street. The store isn’t on the heavily traveled throughways of Cleveland, but because it’s open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., it’s often the first stop for nearby residents on their way to work and the last stop for them on the way home.

Entering the store, customers would have to struggle to miss the Mississippi Lottery display. The display screen and ticket scanner are topped with a set of shelves holding the scratch-off ticket display, and a separate register is set aside primarily for lottery sales. Players are encouraged to not scratch their tickets at the counter.Just a few feet to the left of the scanner and ticket display sits a play center for scratching and filling out playslips.

“I know the customers can always go to another store if they want, but they come here for customer service,” Patel said.

Jack, Patel’s father, is another regular presence at Andy’s – both in the store and in the rules for employees:

“Whatever Jack (Andy’s dad) says, get it done.”