Sandy Costello Retiring After 25 Years

Written by Paul Strack
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When a legend retires early…

Who comes to mind when you think about someone who retired while still in their prime?  Bo Jackson? Barry Sanders? Michael Jordan (the first time)?  When All-Star careers such as those come to an early end, we often experience surprise and disappointment. But those feelings are usually short-lived.

Contrast that with the feeling that occurs when someone much closer to you retires from the same team. A legitimate All-Star that you’ve worked with for just over a quarter of a century. It truly gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach. And it’s a feeling that won’t quickly go away.

This month, our Office Manager, Customer Service Manager, A/R & A/P manager and all-around Doer-of-Anything-Else-That Needs-To -Get-Done are all retiring. On the same day! Sandy Costello joined our business in April of 1996. At that time, she was our next-door neighbor and a fellow church parishioner. Even though you are always cautioned about hiring friends and neighbors, I knew that Sandy was a good fit for CustomXM.  I just wasn’t sure if we were a good fit for her.  Family business, ya know. And speaking of family, get this – during her 25 years, Sandy had the pleasure (?) of working with my Mom, my Dad, my aunt, my sons and daughters, and of course me. That’s a lot of Stracks to deal with. Even if you spread it out over 25 years.

Yet, the absolute pleasure was all ours, I assure you.  I would often joke with Sandy that my job is to work “on the business, not in the business.” For any business owner to be successful, that simply must happen. And through her undeniable work ethic, Sandy definitely allowed this to happen. She wasn’t just a team player; Sandy was often the team quarterback and cheerleader. If you needed to get something done, my sage advice was always, “Ask Sandy.”  If you needed to find out the status of an order, “Ask Sandy.”  If you needed to know where something was filed, or where paperclips were purchased, the response was always, “Ask Sandy.”

Our clients were well aware of Sandy’s impact on CustomXM.  For 25 years she’s been the friendly voice on the phone and the friendly face behind the front counter. It always seemed like a grand homecoming when she would finally meet customers face-to-face after speaking with them over the phone.

Sandy skillfully navigated the journey from hand-written job tickets to electronic on-line ordering. She experienced the industry changes from filing negatives to storing PDFs. And yes, from sending faxes to sending emails. A lot happens over a quarter a century.

Yes, when a sports legend retires early, it does leave us somewhat saddened. But when the new season begins, the current replacement often quickly fills that void. I have the sinking feeling that won’t be the case in the retirement of this CustomXM legend.  Sandy will be missed by our clients, and by all of us at CustomXM.  Especially by me.

But remember, even Michael Jordan came out of retirement. While we wish her the best in her retirement, we can hold out hope for a comeback!

We’ll miss you, Sandy. Wishing you all the best!