Serving Southwest Michigan

(269) 720-7605

Serving Southwest Michigan

(269) 720-7605

May 28, 2014

Every day in every way, I am getting better and better. - Ẻmile Coué

I receive daily coaching tips via text messages from Karen Vogelmann, Vision Coach and Owner of 'Your Awesome Life'.  The above quote was one I received today and it holds special meaning to me so I wanted to share it with you.  I have twelve siblings, so yes....that makes me the thirteenth child and the baby of my family.  My brother, David, passed away 31 years ago....a very talented person with a kind soul.  I remember him saying the quote above often.  He had a love for music and played the guitar and piano beautifully.  Our house was always filled with sounds of the Beatles, Cat Stevens and more.  Great memories!  This quote is also in the song written by John Lennon for his son, Sean.  Beautiful boy.  So you see, it just ties it all together for me in a lovely package to remember my brother.  Thanks, Karen!

Karen's quote today did more than just share positive and uplifting thoughts to help guide my also made me remember my kind brother.  I hope this quote will help your day be positive.  You can visit Karen's website at where you can sign up for her newsletter which always contains great articles.

Blessings!  Mary Beth

May 17, 2014

Concierge services are no longer only for the rich and famous.  Also, they are no longer used strictly in hotels.  Concierge services are available to everyday people like you and I who need more TIME in our day.  A Single Ray of Hope's clients can focus their time and energy on doing what they truly want and need to do....and very simply delegating the rest to us.  Some people may wonder how they could utilize a concierge to make their lives more manageable.  Katharine Giovanni of Triangle Concierge has written an excellent article below outlining 52 ways to use a concierge.  Read on and ponder how you could have more balance in your life by utilizing a concierge.  Mary Beth


52 Ways to use a Concierge                         By Katharine C. Giovanni, CCS           

One of the questions I get asked by the media is what does a concierge do?  The quick answer is that a concierge will do anything in the yellow pages as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical.

Everyone single one of us tries to squeeze 36 hours into a 24 hour day, and when you do that you inevitably don’t do it very well. You get stressed …

Which leads to tired …

Which leads to not eating healthy because you’re craving “comfort” food …

Which leads to sickness.

Not good!

A concierge is here to do the things that you have to, leaving you the time to do the things that you want to like spending more time with family and friends, putting more time in at the office, or relaxing with a good book!

That being said below is a list of 52 ways you can use a concierge. Since the real list of what a concierge can do for you is endless, the list below is merely here to get you started.

  1. Obtaining tickets to concerts, special events and sporting events
  2. Transportation Services - train, plane or automobiles … concierge can get it!
  3. Travel and Vacation Planning
  4. Business Referral Service - need a landscaper or a plumber?
  5. Restaurant Recommendations and/or Reservations
  6. Pet services
  7. Internet Research - need research done and you don’t have the time to do it?
  8. Personalized shopping and delivery
  9. Running to the post office
  10. Dry cleaning pick-up and/or delivery
  11. Grocery shopping
  12. Running to the hardware store
  13. Senior care
  14. Modified house sitting - need someone to wait for the service technician while you’re at work?
  15. Picking up or returning a gift
  16. Meal Delivery
  17. Home Inventory - video the contents of your home and keep it in your safe deposit box
  18. Bill paying
  19. Auto Maintenance
  20. Home Organization
  21. Notary Services - many concierge area a traveling notary and can actually come to you.
  22. House Cleaning Services
  23. Courier/Delivery Services
  24. Delivering lunch to nurses and doctors at the hospital
  25. Delivering a Meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner
  26. Prescription Pick-up and delivery
  27. Repair and Service Calls
  28. Returning a library book or a video
  29. Sick Care - sick in bed? Call a concierge and they’ll do your errands, arrange for dinner to be delivered and can be on hand to help your family out
  30. New Mommy Services
  31. Meeting and Event Planning; private parties
  32. Personal Chef Services
  33. Single Parent Helper
  34. Employee Relocation Services
  35. Gift baskets and Flower Delivery
  36. Landscaping Services
  37. Special Day Reminder Service
  38. Charter a Private Jet, Yachts or Helicopter
  39. Hire a concierge to assist you at your event, wedding or conference - also called “event concierge” and “wedding concierge”
  40. Need Security?  They’ll hire a security company to assist you.
  41. Day Spa Services
  42. Fashion and/or Stylist Consultant
  43. Nanny Services
  44. Estate Planning
  45. Arrange for your Tee Time at the golf club
  46. Book your appointments for you
  47. Hire a Butler
  48. New to the area?  A concierge will give you a tour of the town
  49. Catering Services
  50. Get Away Weekends
  51. Office help
  52. Moving assistance - let your concierge unpack those boxes and put it all away!!  All you’ll need to unpack is your toothbrush.

If you are looking to hire a concierge, then I suggest you visit and check out our international concierge directory.

For people who are looking to be a concierge, please visit

Until next time!


About the Author: Katharine is an award-winning author and the world’s leading concierge trainer and consultant as well as a Certified Concierge Specialist (CCS) and Speaker. She is one of the founders of Triangle Concierge and is the Chairman of the Board and Founder of the International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association (ICLMA) as well as the author of several business books including her award winning book Going Above and Beyond and The Concierge Manual.

If you wish to re-print this article, that’s fine. Just include the biography at the end of the article. Thank you!

copyright © 2010 by Katharine C. Giovanni


May 13, 2014

This morning, I met with Matt Goodlock of Clock Mobility at 5401 Portage Road, Suite 2b in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  You can reach him at 269-903-2813 and view their website at   I learned so much about adaptive mobility today!  Great strides have been made in adapting vehicles with the ability for persons with limited mobility to be drivers and passengers in today's vehicles.

Long ago, my dad who was a double amputee was able to drive using hand controls and his wheelchair was stored in a topper on top of the vehicle.  This was great because it provided him the opportunity to travel and be more independent.

Today's vans look like every day vehicles with side or rear door entry of wheelchairs.  Even people who just need vehicle seats that can turn for easy entry into the vehicles and departing of the vehicles.  Clock Mobility is the place to visit and talk to Matt BEFORE making car purchases.  He can help you with the vehicle purchase or just guide you in purchasing the adaptive equipment BUT it has to be done right in the first place.  No use buying a vehicle with the intent of making it adaptive in the future if you haven't looked at all the specifications needed.  See Matt and tell him Mary Beth Esquibel of A Single Ray of Hope sent you.

Speaking for is easy to take being fully ambulatory for granted.  The ability to get in a vehicle and drive without another thought.  Others don't have it that easy.  Being fully ambulatory could change in a moment with an accident for any of us.  Let's all be more considerate of others.

Mary Beth Esquibel
Owner, A Single Ray of Hope


May 05, 2014

It is my pleasure to share the following article from Katharine Giovanni of Triangle Concierge.  She has some valuable customer service advice to share.  You can learn more about Katharine and her business at

Four simple words that will change your career

I want to share a very short story with you …

I had to go for my quarterly heart echo a few weeks ago (I’m a 2-year breast cancer survivor and they scan me all the time), and I often strike up a conversation with the hospital staff while I’m there. Being both a customer service and positive life trainer, it’s become a habit now to talk to people I stumble across during the day. If I can help just one person, it makes my day. Just making people smile and laugh brings me joy!

When we arrive, my husband and I park in the lot of the hospital, walk into the reception area, sign in, and quietly sit down and wait for them to call my name. Ron has been a pillar of strength through this cancer nightmare as he has been solidly by my side for every appointment, surgery and treatment!  He often still comes with me to appointments.

When they call my name, I walk over to the woman behind the first door so I can be registered for the test.

“Good morning Mrs. Giovanni” she says brightly as I walk through the glass door.

Is it a GOOD thing that everyone here knows me by name?  I wondered as I sat down.

“Are you the one who taught me to say ‘it was my pleasure‘ a few months ago?” she immediately asks me.

You see, the last time I was there, I struck up a conversation and we got onto the customer service topic, which I’ve been speaking on for the last decade or so. One of my biggest tips is to swap “you’re welcome” for “it was my pleasure” as it takes your customer service level up at least five notches!  Just that one little thing changes the entire energy and brings your level of service a whole new level.

“Yes, yes I am” I said to her smiling.

“Oh, I’m so glad I’m the one checking you in today! I’ve been wanting to thank you for weeks now. I’ve been saying that ever since I saw you and the response has been amazing. Patients and staff are not only treating me better and with more respect, but I’m getting so much positive feedback! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. My supervisor loves it!”


I’ve seen changes in people, but this one was incredible. The last time I was there, she didn’t smile when I walked in, and signed me in for my test like a robot. So out of habit, I struck up a conversation with her to see if I could get her to smile at me. We chit chatted for a few minutes and eventually I got her onto customer service topics. I then quickly gave her a few tips that included smiling and saying “it was my pleasure.”

Just four simple words changed her entire outlook! Even more amazing was that it got her noticed by her supervisor which might lead to a promotion. Now THAT’s a positive change! The negativity was completely gone, and a warm, friendly and approachable woman was now sitting in front of me. What a difference!

So here’s my challenge to all of you … start saying “it was my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” for the next week and see what happens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!!!

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that are the most powerful.

Have a great day all!


Katharine’s NEW book on how to live a positive life will be out this summer!

May 04, 2014

A Single Ray of Hope is finishing up several pet sitting jobs.  We had great weather for dog walking!  My four legged clients Zelda, Tucker, Tink, and Stella were able to stay in the comfort of their own homes while their owners traveled. It's less stressful on the pets when they can be in their own surroundings rather than a kennel.  Our clients (the pet's owners) appreciate being updated on how their pets are doing too!

Peace of mind for the pets and their owners = PRICELESS.






A Single Ray of Hope celebrates 16 years of being in business in July 2022!  How is this even possible? It is an amazing milestone for me and I am extremely proud and a veteran and woman-owned business.

Where did the idea come from to open a Concierge Service in Portage, Michigan? Well, myself and two dear friends would gather over frozen strawberry dacquiri's and making jewelry while brainstorming businesses to go into. My friends chose other routes and were equally as successful in their career paths, while I pursued opening A Single Ray of Hope's Personal Assistant & Concierge Service. 

Still today, I love being of service to people. I am blessed to meet and work for a wide variety of clients. Individuals of all walks of life....some working professionals both with and without families, retired seniors and their adult children, various businesses and more. I love getting to know people and hearing about their fascinating lives. My reward is knowing that my service is giving them the ability to focus on what is most important to them. It's about the value of time and how they choose to spend it while handing of their TO DO List to a trusted business.

I started my business as a way of giving back to others. My youngest son has special needs and many family and friends helped guide us over the years, providing respite, words of encouragement, providing helpful information of where to go for services and assistance. The takes a village is true. Others helped us and I wanted to help others in return.

Another reason for my business is I saw my mother who raised thirteen children end up struggling later in life with Alzheimers. I'd visit her in her nursing home and this really how life should be for a women who worked so hard to put her children through catholic school by donating her artistic time & talents, staying up late at night just to have a little peace & quiet, stretching a dollar beyond belief, and raising a good family? Mom's put themselves last, we do it willingly but in the end, we are doing a dis-service to ourselves and our families. I thought life shouldn't have to be this hard. How about a providing a service so that people could enjoy life more instead of running in a hundred directions?

Many times, I don't see a lot of my clients....I'm in and out of their home during the day while they are at work. Shopping is done, errands done, dry cleaning is hanging in their closet, meals prepped or cooked, prescriptions picked up, library books returned, service people have been to the home such as plumbers, etc. My business gives my clients some breathing room and that is how life should be lived. 

You get the picture. It's about work life balance and peace of mind....for both myself and my clients.  Life is short....take time to smell the flowers.