Jeffrey Proulx, Save A Lot Retail Partner

As a business owner, I’ve learned that the foundation of how we grow our business is deeply rooted in workplace culture. And in a retail business like grocery, my perspective has never been truer. From work productivity performance to employee retention, a properly managed workplace culture affects all areas of a business. 

As a successful, independent owner and operator of nine Save A Lot store locations across New York, I understand that in order to cultivate a strong workplace culture in each of my stores, I need to implement three key tactics: lead by example, establish trust and transparency, and get to know my staff as people.

Lead by Example

As a store owner and business leader, I make it a point to set the tone through my own actions. I strongly believe positivity is contagious – if I treat my own team with appreciation and respect, they will go above and beyond in their service and treat customers in the same manner. This cycle has been particularly evident over the last several months in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when everyone, customers and employees alike, were looking for a little bit of comfort in such an unprecedented time. During this period, I encouraged my team to lead with positivity, and as a result, feedback from customers reached new heights, and the business prospered with stores seeing positive gains and an increase in revenue of 10% ─ a shining example of how to operate successfully.

Establish Trust and Transparency

Trust and transparency go a long way when working in a hectic and ever-changing industry. As a result, I make sure to begin every day with clear communication, directing each store manager to start the day off with a team meeting that gives staff a rundown of the day and sets expectations. I’ve found that providing my teams with even a little extra clarity and organization, employee anxiety subsides and everyone performs their job to the best of their abilities. Beyond the walls of my Save A Lot store locations, I also develop dependable relationships with Save A Lot’s distribution centers and vendors, building them on a foundation of honesty and trust that consistently provides benefits to the business.

Get to Know Your Staff – As People

After years of managing teams as a store owner, I understand the crucial difference between getting to know staff and understanding them as people. Whether it’s a store manager or a new part-time cashier, I make a concerted effort to know each and every employee on a more personal level. That means taking time out of the week to have conversations and interactions, but also promoting a work-life balance that encourages employees to spend time with their family and loved ones, and even encouraging team members to head out a little early to catch their child’s soccer game or event. I’ve found that when employees are treated with dignity and respect, and are truly recognized as people, the rate of employee turnover will diminish, and your business will benefit as a whole.

Additionally, for first-time business owners in the grocery space, I highly encourage leaders to leave room for mistakes. There will be several instances where decisions are incorrectly made, but it’s always important for store owners to remain levelheaded and learn from their mistakes in order to grow as a store owner, a leader, and as a business.

Jeffrey Proulx successfully owns nine Save A Lot store locations and has been a retail partner for over two decades. He currently resides in New York with his two sons, and enjoys playing hockey, golfing and boating in his spare time. 

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