Natural Foods Merchandiser

Retailer roundtable: April 2010

Kate Hoctor, manager of Rainbow’s End Natural Foods, Las Vegas

“Ensuring that they remain motivated and energized about their jobs while still feeling supported and uplifted in the work environment.”

Joe Clark, general manager of New Central Market, Anchorage, Alaska

“It’s the thing that will make any store successful—providing good customer service. We want employees who will take any customer throughout the store and know all about the products. We’re an Asian food market, so we try to teach our employees about different foods from different cultures, how to eat them and how to best prepare them. When you have [good customer service] working for you, it’s no trouble getting your customers to pull out their wallets.”

Jim Coltrin, owner of Gregory’s Wheat Shop, Bountiful, Utah

“Finding quality people is the biggest challenge. You learn from your mistakes, so we have a pretty thorough interview processes. I don’t think product knowledge is as important as the abilities and character of the person. To a big extent it’s hit and miss. If we have a poor job market, we may have to settle for someone. We’ve had really great success in the last couple of years.”

Bill Shepard, manager of Welltrients For Life, Santa Clarita, Calif.

“The hardest thing is education and teaching them about the business. We hold classes regularly. Our training is all done in house. Staff members who have an expertise on a product teach those who do not.”

Russell Adams, co-manager, Family Nutrition Center, Cleburne, Texas

“The biggest challenge we have is finding employees who have a desire to learn as much as they can about the products in our industry. To most employees, this is just another job. When you find an employee who loves this field, make sure you hold onto them.”

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