Lane earns attention for JCPenney

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 11, 2001

Natchez JCPenney’s employee Stephanie Lane said she was just selling merchandise never knowing her efforts would win her a trip to Plano, Texas.

&uot;That’s my job – to sell,&uot; Lane said. &uot;That’s what I always do. That’s just natural.&uot;

The customer service specialist, with the junior’s department at JCPenney in Natchez Mall, was one of seven people from 1,100 JCPenneys stores across the nation picked to visit company headquarters in January.

The winners were selected based on their sales during the month of the October.

&uot;We had to find ways to promote (the) items,&uot; Lane said.

For Lane the way to promote sales was to get the customers’ attention with crazy costumes. And it seemed to have worked.

During one week, the juniors department held a 1960-70s theme week and sales soared 121 percent.

The employees decorated the department, played disco music and all wore 1960s outfits.

One day Lane also dyed her hair bright yellow.

&uot;(Customers) were kind of shocked,&uot; said Lane.

But it also got their attention by &uot;blowing their mind&uot; by looking so different, she said.

Store manager Terry Perkins agreed to the costume idea as long as they did not wear anything too extreme, Lane said.

&uot;We’re having fun,&uot; Lane said she told Perkins the day she had yellow hair. &uot;He just laughed at me.&uot;

And Perkins said he now wishes he could clone Lane.

&uot;Stephanie says smiles are free all day,&uot; Perkins said. &uot;She sets a wonderful example of what the standards in our store should be.&uot;

During October, the juniors department employees also tried other ways to promote sales.

They gave stickers and candy to children, dressed up for Halloween, and all wore matching outfits comprised of JCPenney’s merchandise.

To get extra attention, Lane she also decorated her outfits with disco stickers.

Having employees actually wearing the merchandise does help with sales, Lane said.

&uot;They like it better on,&uot; she said

After being picked as the winner of the customer services specialist contest for the Natchez Store, Lane made a book so she could take part in the district, regional and national competition.

The book included information on her sales records and pictures of ways she promoted sales.

&uot;Take pride in your work,&uot; she said. &uot;Enjoy it and create good atmosphere around you.&uot;

Lane is the daughter of David and Hilda Lane.