What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to create a shopping experience with product tastings and education that makes it fun for our customers. I love talking to our customers about food and helping them find that one-of-a-kind item that they needed for that new recipe they found. The most exciting thing to see is when small children go straight to the cheese department to sample artisanal cheeses from around the world, developing a far more extensive palate than most of their parents and grandparents will ever have. Our store motto is “Makin’ Groceries Cool Again.”
What inspires your leadership approach?
Our No. 1 asset is our employees. My department managers and associates are passionate about the foods they sell so we encourage them to be creative in product selection, merchandising and promotion. We also believe in educating our staff. My cheesemongers go to the yearly American Cheese Society convention and strive to become Certified Cheese Professionals. My deli/bakery buyer attends IDDBA to find the new, hip trends. My grocery buyer attends the Fancy Food Show to keep our specialty food selection on the cutting edge. Our wine buyers attend expos and tastings to attain the prestigious post-nominal Certified Specialist of Wine.
What do you value most about being a part of the grocery business?
My family has been in the grocery business since the late 1860s. They started as a full-service corner store in New Orleans. In the 1920s, my grandmother and my great uncles came up with offering a 10% discount to the customer if they packaged and gathered their own groceries. As we see more online and curbside shopping trends, we too must be able to adapt and change just like my grandmother and great uncles did in the 1920s. What I value most about being in the grocery business is that even though the way we go to market may change, what doesn’t change is that people need to eat. It is an essential business that can survive great depressions, pandemics, recessions and even natural disasters such as hurricanes.