Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/723369
here. The Save-A-Lot brings in a lot of traffic," says Taha, who plans to eventually open five Save-A-Lot stores. Save-A-Lot is Taha's first foray into the grocery business, and he has high praise for the company's training pro- gram. "The first week, they put you through classes," he says. "The second week, you get real experience working in the stores. Then they help you choose the right equip- ment, negotiate contracts, [and] they help with ordering, marketing, advertising and inventory. Right after that, they start ordering and stocking, and you are good to go. "The first week, Save-A-Lot's district manager stays in your town until the grand opening, and then comes back to check on you," he adds. "They hold your hand. In my book, it's the perfect package." Making a good impression Save-A-Lot's budget-friendly prices get customers in the door, but that's just the beginning, says Taha. "I personally think that customer service and cleanliness" are the keys to success, he explains. "If you don't have good customer service and a clean store, the prices don't matter. "Have the cashiers welcome every customer—it means a lot. Clean your floor. Imagine how you would like it to look when you walk into the store." When he was in the restaurant business, Taha says, he quickly realized that "you can have the best food, but if you don't have a good waitstaff to serve all of the custom- ers, you are in trouble." Stock up for success The Save-A-Lot model for stocking the shelves is also an asset, says Taha. Store owners agree to buy the majority of their merchandise from Save-A-Lot and may buy from other approved vendors, usually local ones. "You basically have a one-stop-shop warehouse without the expense of having to buy from multiple vendors," he says. "They have everything in stock and supply us three times a week. If you have any problem, you can pick up the phone and talk to the warehouse manager, and they take care of it." But the real key to success in any business, says Taha, is finding a good business model like Save-A-Lot and then sticking with it. "My advice, as someone who came from a different busi- ness, is this: It's a lot of work and a lot of stress, but in the end it pays off," he says. "It may be hard in the beginning, but you will catch up. Get really good people on your team, and you will make it. And you can count on the Save-A-Lot people to help you." GE 3 ISSUE 2, VOL. 5 Advertorial WWW.SAVE-A-LOT.COM/OWN PHOTOS BY WILL STRICKLIN PHOTOGRAPHY Store owner Magdy Taha: "You can count on the Save-A-Lot people to help you."