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Serving up opportunity

As Jodi Gaines can attest, you never know where a job opportunity might pop up – including restaurants.

Gaines is chief executive officer of Claims Recovery Financial Services, a growing business based in Albion. In the late 1980s, she was working at a Pizza Hut, where she frequently served lunch and dinner to employees of Anchor Bancorp’s mortgage processing center.

The Anchor center employees were so impressed with how hardworking, efficient and organized she was, they urged her to apply for a job at their workplace. She took their advice and was hired as a clerk. Gaines ascended the ranks, even as the center itself later changed ownership. In 2002, she started CRFS, which now has 650 employees at three locations, specializing in claims processing.

CRFS recently opened a location in San Antonio, Texas. When Gaines and some colleagues were out to dinner there a few weeks ago, she said they had a "phenomenal" waitress, and they chatted with her about her background. The waitress had a paralegal certificate and had recently moved to Texas from California. The CRFS group urged her to apply for a job at their company, and she was hired.

Gaines said she is careful about being respectful to other employers, but always keeps an eye out for service-industry employees who are "efficient, and on top of it and polite, and you always have to treat everyone the way you want to be treated."

You can read more about Gaines and her business in BizTalk in Sunday’s Buffalo News.

-- Matt Glynn

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