There are a slew of ambassadors throughout the community spreading the word about Kilgore – Cleveland Steel Container employees get a special opportunity every four years to join the community's cheerleading effort.
The message is already on the move this year: the company's latest custom Christmas pail is headed to customers' hands hundreds – even thousands – of miles away.
“It goes back to tradition,” says Dan Roether, vice president of sales for Cleveland Steel: “Of thanking people, thanking customers for their business. It's something we feel very strongly about.”
According to Roether, the tradition's at the 30-year mark, longer than his 26 years at the company.
“We decorate the pail in a Christmas theme, and we send those out to our customers,” he said. “Fill the pail with goodies and stuff like that so the customers can feel appreciated.”
The annual mailout tops 200, Roether noted, with about 215 outbound from Kilgore this year.
“The newest tradition has been that we let the plants design the pail,” he added, rotating the graphic designing through the company's four plants across the country.
The Kilgore operation got another go this year and ensured the design was full of local flair:
Cleveland Steel's pail for 2017 is wrapped in a photo of Kilgore's star-topped derricks, taken by local photographer Clark Langley. An image of a Stetson-sporting Santa Claus fills the upper portion of the pail, St. Nick waving in a starry sky as his sleigh is pulled by a longhorn under the Christmas greeting, “Ho Ho Ho Y'all!”
“We try to encourage local flavors and themes to be on the pail,” Roether said. “They really wanted the longhorn steer on there, the stars, the oil derricks. They did a really nice job of bringing the local flavor into the design.
Working with Langley, “I think it captured downtown Kilgore pretty nicely.”
In the business world, it adds a necessary personal touch.
“It's about thanking people and showing our appreciation by sending that out,” Roether said. “We're very thankful for our plants and our people. It's a good way to show it.”