Progressive Grocer

JAN 2017

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And everything in the store is available online through Coborn's click-and-collect shopping ser- vice. Guests can place orders online on any mobile or desktop device and select a pickup time window, during which their order will be waiting in the staging area at the front of the store. Skills Versus Personality e community response to the Isanti store has been overwhelming, according to Store Director Mary Kruck. "We actually had people crying because they were so happy we brought a store of this caliber to their town," says Kruck, who will celebrate 21 years with Coborn's in May. Her second-in-command, Assistant Store Director Michael Hauglie, began his career with Coborn's as a produce clerk at age 16. Host says the biggest issue revealed since the store's grand opening has been "the learning curve of settling into all the new offerings that are new and different than those that we've traditionally offered in our other stores. With more fresh offer- ings, we have a keener sense of what our guests are wanting and are flexing to meet those needs." at flexing affected the way Coborn's went Creating a pleasant shopping environment; offering items, services and choices that appeal to the community; and being a full-service supermarket were all top of mind as we planned the layout and feel of the store." —Dennis Host, VP of Marketing about hiring associates for the new store. "We have not been immune to the significant challenges of finding qualified talent to fill key roles, but have been truly impressed with the store team we've put in place," Host says. "Many of our store associates in this location really had no previous experience in grocery retailing, much less specialty areas." In fact, Coborn's opted to "hire for personality and train on skills," Host explains, indicating "people who can sell, are engaging and enthusiastic with our guests and have a passion for what they do. We've trained them on the technical or hard skills. It's the soft skills we were most looking for, to create a much more dynamic shopping destination for our guests." Bringing a next-generation format to market "has been incredibly rewarding," he continues, "and as with anything new, there are always some challenges to work through. Most rewarding has been our guests' acceptance and enthusiasm for the store. Our biggest challenges probably have been just the settling into the new norm of how the store will perform consistently. Just understanding what that looks like from week to week can sometimes be challenging, but thus far, we are very happy with the results, and performance has been solid."

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