Company Blog

I got you

by Adam Zack — May 31, 2023

Knowing that you have their back empowers employees to make good, confident choices.

There are a lot of words and phrases that make you feel great. “Have you lost weight?” “You look fantastic!”; “Man, you’re smart.”; “You just get better looking every day.”; “You’re the nicest person I ever met.” “I appreciate you.” There are lots of them. My favorite, though, is “I’ve got your back.” The amount of comfort I get from knowing that someone (in fact, more than just one someone) is there for me, no matter what, lets me sleep well at night, be comfortable taking risks and realize that if things get ugly in the trenches some really great people will be right there beside me, fighting my fight with me with as much passion and personal skin in the game as I have. It’s something I don’t take for granted, and know that they know that I’ve got their back too. Every day of every year. It might not be to the extreme of some deeply personal back-watching that you have, but your employees need to know that you have their back. When things get ugly and stressful, their performance will soar if they know that you are there to support their decisions and be on their side. They have to know that just because Mrs. Crabapple got a tough steak or some berries...
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What do you think about me?

by Adam Zack — May 24, 2023

We’re 100% dependent on the scrutiny of our customers and employees.

I love comedy. Whenever we need something to watch on TV our fallback is always some standup comedy. Demetri Martin. Tom Segura. Chad Daniels. John Mulaney. Mike Birbiglia. Jim Gaffigan. Dave Chappelle.The joy that hearty laughter brings is the best. It brings relief and smiles, and it just feels great to laugh. Great comedians are smart. Really smart. I was watching the sometimes funny Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee and Dave Chappelle was Jerry Seinfeld’s guest. In the course of their conversation Dave said “Not caring about the scrutiny of others is the hardest thing to do.” Man, that hit home. And I thought the hardest thing to do was to be a good listener. But truly not caring about what other people are saying about you takes more than just thick skin. I think that you have to be some kind of pompous ass to not care about what other people think. Maybe the truly arrogant couldn’t care less. Or the truly rich. Because, especially in the food business, we are 100% dependent on the scrutiny of our customers and employees. We are sensitive and competitive by nature and constantly seek feedback and approval. “What do you think?” “How was it?” “How are we doing?...
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Guest Vacation Blog

by Adam Zack — May 17, 2023

Think of that person…let them know how they influenced you and your decisions.

Hello, Scott here, Adam’s oldest friend (he is actually older than me by 268 days to be exact but who’s counting). We have known each other for 54ish years, so I’m stepping in for him as he is off on a much needed, relaxing vacation.I figure I would talk about how someone, anyone, could instantly change the direction of your life and maybe you could think back to that person, friend, family member or moment you realized that the path you chose goes back to that decision you made years ago. It reminds me of a story I once read about one of Adam’s favorite musicians and how one meeting changed his life direction.It was a summer morning in 1961, and an 11-year-old Tom Petty sat on a stump in his front yard, wondering how he was going to spend his day. By the end of the afternoon, he knew how he would spend his life. To be sure, the events of that afternoon added another notch to rock ‘n’ roll history and a tantalizing addition to Florida lore. For, by the end of the day, the young Petty would encounter none other than Elvis Presley, the swivel-hipped sensation who had already been crowned ‘The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’. And by that evening, the Gainesville youngster would...
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by Adam Zack — May 10, 2023

Supermarket sexy is about the food, not the garnish.

Food Porn. You see it all over the TV, internet, social media, magazines. Food that looks so unbelievably sexy that you are filled with lust and desire to have it. I’m obsessed with @notorious_foodie on Instagram. About half of the photos on my phone are of food. That perfect sandwich I made to show my brother. The Prime steak on the grill tantalizingly licked by flames. A produce wet rack so perfectly merchandised that the colors seem to shout “Farm Fresh!” The charcuterie board with impossibly thin sliced prosciutto and artisan salamis. And so, so many more. But the last thing anyone has ever associated with a grocery store is sexy. And by sexy I don’t mean the boom-chicka-bowm-bowm kind. I mean it in the baby-you-look-so-good! way. Food can be like that. Watch an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network and you’ll know what I mean.So, the point is, can grocery store food be sexy? Can the monotony of russet potatoes and yellow onions be forgotten by the bright colors of store made fresh fruit salad (and anyone whose fruit salad is cantaloupe, honeydew and green grapes does not count.) Grilled Chicken breasts with thin slices of fresh lemon on them are sexy. Curried chicken salad looks hot. Kale i...
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by Adam Zack — May 3, 2023

All of our stores have stories – great stories to tell.

Some of the greatest stories are fish stories. Tales from your grandpa how he hiked up 20,000 feet to a secret lake with just a pole and a bag of jerky to fish in this remote spot where the fish were rumored to be six feet long and could swallow your arm if you got too close. Dadgummit if he didn’t land that beauty, which fed the whole family for two winters. There was a lot of exaggeration, but there was a day when grandpa went fishing (5,000 feet, and he drove there) with his pole (and a six pack) and fished all day and caught some nice sized fish (12-14”), which in fact were tasty and did feed the family (one meal, except for baby Matt, who didn’t like fish yet). The point is not the fish, it’s the story. All of our stores have stories – great stories. All they need to get the customers attention is to be told in a way that is interesting and compelling. Recently I was at a presentation by Jim Donald, former CEO of Starbucks, Haggen (he brought it to life and it was sold to the group that quickly wrecked it), Extended Stay America and others. He is known for his ability to turn failing companies around quickly and significantly. His first rule is “Have a fish story. Something you can tell your customers that ...
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by Adam Zack — April 26, 2023


No matter what comes her way, she’s happy and cheerful.

I work with a woman named Miriam. She’s going to be 40 years old in June. She’s a single mom, and also a grandma a couple times over. Her life hasn’t been easy, and she makes a 30-minute commute to come to work every day. The thing I love about Miriam is that every day, no matter what comes her way, she’s happy and cheerful. She’s respectful, takes great pride in her job cutting up fruits, vegetables and making juice. One time recently she accidentally threw the juice blade into the trash, resulting in us having to spend $250 for a new blade. She was so apologetic, and she offered to pay for it herself. Not a chance. It was an accident and accidents happen. There’s no way to be mad at Miriam. This week, as she smiled and was working away, I asked her, “Miriam, how did you get to be so nice and happy?” She thought about it for a minute and replied, “That’s the way God made me.” I’m not particularly religious, but I felt the effect of her faith carrying her through life, providing just enough and letting her happiness radiate outward and positively impact everyone around her. Next time I feel like I have something to complain about, I’m going to try and be more like Miriam.

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Great Choice!

by Adam Zack — April 19, 2023

They were words of affirmation and approval by someone “in the know” that made me really feel great about my selection.

Did you realize that compliments generate revenue?A couple weeks ago we were out to dinner and when the server got around to me I gave her my choice (I don’t even remember what I ordered – it was the service that was memorable) and she said – very sincerely while looking me in the eye – “Excellent choice. That’s one of my very favorites.” They were words of affirmation and approval by someone “in the know” that made me really feel great about my selection. Upon reflection, she probably does that with everyone who looks like they will be paying the bill, but even if that is true, it didn’t matter. Those complimentary words resulted in a relaxed, satisfied dinner before the food even came and definitely a bigger tip. If more restaurant servers – from fast casual to fine dining – could master the art of the compliment, we’d all be happier diners and they’d make more in tips. Pray tell, you ask, how does this even relate to the grocery industry? Well, I’ll tell you, and thank you for giving me the leeway to take such a circuitous route to the point. You have things that are your favorites. Lots of them. So do yo...
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by Adam Zack — April 12, 2023

“Kindness, in one word, is a business model, an approach to strangers and a platform for growth.”—Seth Godin

I’ve been trying to sleep in later on Sundays. And it’s mostly been very successful! So I woke up Sunday morning at 9:00 and checked my phone, seeing I had a text from my youngest daughter Alyssa that said: “Made me think of you 831” (831 is code for I love you. Eight letters, three words, one meaning). Attached was a link to a post on the Swiss-Miss design blog/studio titled Kindness Scales.KINDNESS SCALES“It scales better than competitiveness, frustration, pettiness, regret, revenge, merit (whatever that means) or apathy. Kindness ratchets up. It leads to more kindness. It can create trust and openness and truth and enthusiasm and patience and possibility.Kindness, in one word, is a business model, an approach to strangers and a platform for growth. It might take more effort than you were hoping it would, but it’s worth it.”– Seth Godin, Author, Entrepreneur, TeacherIt was one of the nicest, most satisfying compliments I have ever received in my life. I fully believe that kindness is perhaps the greatest trait that a successful leader can have, and i...
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by Adam Zack — April 5, 2023

“But most of the time, we cruise through life being totally unremarkable.”

Remarkable: notably or conspicuously unusual; extraordinary. Worthy of notice or attention.Name one person that you know is remarkable. You must know one that makes you think “Damn, that person is special.” Being remarkable is not easy. To a small minority, it comes naturally. But most have to work at it. It takes a commitment to excellence, determination, integrity and perseverance. Being unremarkable is easy. You just blend in. Last Sunday my wife and I were at this taco and beer restaurant. They were busy, and I had to wait in line to order. When the girl took my order and I paid, thanked her and she thanked me, I thought I bet even if I were to come back in half an hour she wouldn’t remember me. I was totally unremarkable from any other customer. Usually, at least when we get a paper check at a restaurant and it’s time to sign and leave a tip, we write Thank You!! on the bill to express our gratitude and make a small gesture to be remarkable. But most of the time, we cruise through life being totally unremarkable. I’ve had experiences in the past w...
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Caring vs Turnover

by Adam Zack — March 29, 2023


As the owner or the manager you have to sincerely care.

Retail powers the U.S. economy. 29 million people work in the retail business, which represents roughly 20% of the 140 million jobs in America. Retail generates nearly $2.6 trillion in sales.With that much effect on the economy, why is the turnover rate in retail, especially grocery, so high? According to Daily Pay Retention Rates the turnover rate in the grocery industry is 100%. That’s right there with fast-food. Ouch. In fact, according to Money Magazine, some of the worst places to work in the country are grocery stores. Kmart (are there still Kmarts? I guess a handful), Family Dollar and The Fresh Market all make the top 20 Worst Places to work. Why is that? Poor communication, low wages, poor benefits, boredom and the idea that retail is not a job for educated workers contribute. It’s just not sexy. You work holidays and weekends, early mornings and late nights. Doesn’t sound like much fun on paper. But I think the number one reason that turnover is high is that some of those companies just don’t care. It costs approximately $3,600 to replace one supermarket cashier (turnover cost), so if you care about money (and who doesn’t, really?) success can be helped by focusing on your turnover. The...
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