NASHVILLE - More than 500 dignitaries were on hand to see history made Thursday night as Pal's Sudden Service of Kingsport became the first two-time winner of the Tennessee Excellence Award.
The award is the state's highest honor for business quality and customer service and is presented by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.
"Setting a first in quality has been our goal for more than 50 years," said Pal's founder Pal Barger.
The company was also the first food service company to earn the Baldrige National Quality Award in 2001.
Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips and other local dignitaries attended Thursday's event in Nashville. Pal's first won the Tennessee Excellence Award in 2001. No other company in Tennessee has earned the honor twice.
Matt Kisber, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development, presented the Excellence Award to Barger and Pal's Chief Executive Officer Thom Crosby.
Before the awards, Kisber announced that his department had entered into a three-year agreement with the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence to assist Tennessee communities applying for the State' s Three-Star Community Program.
"Commissioner Kisber's plan to utilize the expertise within the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence is a smart way to enhance economic development across Tennessee," Crosby said.
The Three-Star Program recognizes and supports communities for their economic development efforts. The Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence promotes and assists organizations within the state looking to improve quality and customer service through the use of Baldrige Award criteria.
The center was created in 1993 by Governor Ned McWherter to provide support for Tennessee organizations seeking quality.
Pal's began with one restaurant on Revere Street in 1956. Today, the company operates 20 locations in Tennessee and Virginia with more than 650 employees.