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Kayla Graven with Downtown Springfield Inc. Receives the WOW Award!

Congratulations to Kayla Graven of Downtown Springfield Inc. on winning the CILCSA "WOW Award" for extraordinary service to the community!

Kayla was nominated for her outstanding efforts with the Old Capitol Farmers Market and for handling difficult situations with respect, fairness and above all great customer service.

Her nominator, Melissa Hamilton wrote:

"2020 has been a year that has impacted us all. As many businesses, organizations and individuals had to manage the challenges with COVID19, Kayla was not alone. When COVID first happened, it was unknown if the market would be able to happen this year. Kayla spent endless hours talking to vendors, customers, volunteers, staff, the DSI board, markets in other cities, Springfield City officials and the Department of Health to understand what guidelines and protocols were necessary to create a safe place where farmers could have a safe place to sell their products to customers and shoppers could feel safe shopping.

With this guidance you can only imagine the new processes and guidelines that were needed and Kayla did a phenomenal job communicating to the vendors and the public that the Farmers Market would happen and everyone involved were doing their part to stay safe. With this communication also came challenges because change is hard, everything was happening so fast and COVID was having emotional, mental and physical impacts to so many.

I recall an incident where a patron didn’t want to wear a mask at the market and Kayla kindly explain the reason mask were necessary at the market and the impact it could have on future markets if protocols weren’t followed. This begruntled customer hesitantly put on a mask. The customer than walked away to conduct shopping and later returned to Kayla, pulled down her masked and coughed really hard directly in Kayla’s face. Another person observing this encounter mentioned to the shopper that her actions were not right, and the shopper yelled out with explicit language. Kayla did not engage with the shopper and instead remained calm and follow proper protocols to deescalate the situation. Requiring customers to wear mask has been a challenge for many essential businesses and the market has not

been any different. No matter how people treated Kayla about COVID protocols, she treated them with kindness and respect. It is not an easy job enforcing rules and processes especially in an area as serious as safety. But Kayla has dealt with the vendors, volunteers, and patrons in a respectful and fair way."

Congratulations Kayla!



If you know a community member who deserves to be recognized for their extraordinary act of kindness or superior customer service, nominate them today!


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