Company Blog

The Therapist

by Adam Zack — September 2, 2020

Adam Zack

Nothing erases the past.

A guy walks in to see a therapist. “Let’s talk about your childhood.” says the therapist. “Do I have to relive that again???” thinks the patient. Sound like the start to a promising joke, right? I have a best friend who is a psychologist. A great one. I also have friends that regularly seek therapy as a way to help navigate life and attain a happy, peaceful stability. One thing that seems to be a norm in psychology is the need for the psychologist to dig deep into the patient’s past, reliving and trying to ascertain just what prompted them to seek therapy in the first place. It always seemed to make sense to me. But yesterday, my friend who has sought therapy regularly for several years was explaining how much he loved his new therapist. She’s easy to talk to, has the ability to relate and laugh with him, and most importantly is working with him to focus on the future, helping lead him to a happier, more confident and comfortable life.You can revisit the past – mistakes, happiness, regrets and more, but you can never change it. You can only change the direction of your life trajectory by looking forward. My wife shared a lesson with me last week: “Nothing erases the past. There is repen...
read more

Dear Covid-19

by Adam Zack — August 26, 2020

Pack your bags and hit the road.

On behalf of the independent grocers all over the world, I’d like to invite you to just go. Pack your bags and hit the road. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. We’ve met your novel challenge by being innovative, improving safety and sanitation, procuring toilet paper from previously unused sources and made all kinds of adjustments to cater to you, Mr. Contagious. You have really brought out the best in us, but we were a pretty great group before, so you don’t get credit. So now, many months into dealing with your crap, we’ve had enough. More importantly, our customers have had enough. The summer has been a bust with you around, and the thought of you overstaying your welcome into the holidays is depressing. You’re a real buzz-kill. You’re probably really proud of yourself – contributing to a political shit-show, infecting millions of people and killing hundreds of thousands more – but crashing our party and overstaying your welcome is going to end soon. We’ll be better when you’re gone – we always rise to challenges – but it will not be because of you, it will be in spite of you.So in closing, please accept our invitation to leave before we call security to throw your ass out.Sincerely,...
read more

Reality through a different lens

by Adam Zack — August 19, 2020

Adam Zack

People see things through different lenses.

Dreams have some kind of root in something real that has happened in your life. At least most of them do. I’m not talking dreams of success or romance or achievement – those are more goals than dreams – I’m talking about when you wake up and think that was a weird dream, where the hell did that come from? Yesterday I had blog idea blockage. I’m blaming it on Covid-19, like everything else. So in the early hours of the morning I had this dream. I usually forget my dreams, but I had to get up and make some notes so I’d remember it. In my dream, I was walking through Dorothy Lane Market with Norman Mayne, just checking out the store. I’ve told many people that I think Dorothy Lane is, in my opinion, doing the best job in the supermarket industry in the country. They definitely “Get it”. While walking the store, I ran into Karen McMullen, who is the Human Resources Director for Jensen’s Foods stores in Southern California. I asked her if she had met Norman, and she said, kind of with a dismissive shrug that she had, and that instead of being enamored with what he had accomplished with his stores, was thoroughly unimpressed. We started walking through the store and she c...
read more

It’s the Thought That Matters, right?

by Adam Zack — August 12, 2020

The thought has to end in success.

I heard someone say today that it’s the thought that counts, and that made me think that no, it’s the result that counts more than the thought, right? I can think good thoughts for you to be happy or successful, but if you aren’t and I only contributed good thoughts, then the thought definitely wouldn’t count as much as my action. So, I decided to look into the phrase’s origins. Turns out that it’s a proverb, and not just a phrase. It is attributed to Henry van Dyke, Jr., a professor, ambassador and clergyman around the turn of the 19th century. Henry was a friend of Helen Keller and the officiant at Mark Twain’s funeral. The full, original proverb is “It’s not the gift, it’s the thought that counts.” It’s nice to receive a well-intentioned gift, and instead of looking at the wrong size sweater that you have to return as a chore instead of a gift, it’s a reminder that someone actually cared enough to actually get you a gift. It’s a good reminder. Still, I have taken the lesson to heart and used it as a reminder that it’s not just the thought that matters in today’s world. It’s the result. Well intentioned isn’t enough when it comes to safety, quality and customer service in business. In our grocery store...
read more

Thank you not thanks.

by Adam Zack — August 5, 2020

Adam Zack

Sincerely thank your customers.

Thanks for the support and wonderful feedback from last week’s blog about my buddy Scott who has liver disease. The feedback and, well just the process of putting his difficult journey in writing helped shake him and all (well most, some are still mysteriously silent) of his friends and family into action. A fundraiser was started to help defray his medical costs and the support has brought this gentle giant to tears and humility. While he has lost over 130 lbs, this is not the way you want to lose weight. No one’s thinking “Hey, liver disease is a great way to shed 40% of my body weight! Look at my before and after photos!” We were talking about the importance of thanking everyone who has been so supportive, and the sincerity of the thank you came up. It’s easy to craft a well written thank you to respond to people – some of them total strangers – who willingly give you their hard earned money (especially in these times) and send the same message to everyone. Scott’s words to me: “I started doing thank you notes and I’m trying to make each word personal and not a generic thank you.” That hit me. Not make each note personal, but each word. It really was a reminder from a past b...
read more

Take Care (of yourself)

by Adam Zack — July 29, 2020

Do the things that make you happy.

Sometimes it seems to me like all I can think to write about is leadership and taking care of your people. I forget that before you can make others happy and fulfilled, you have to take care of “yours truly”. This past weekend, my best friend from kindergarten was down visiting. We’ve been friends for 51 years. Yes, I know – old! He has always put everyone around him first. His kids, his parents, his wife, his friends. Selfishness (and self-care) are not in his vocabulary. And now he’s sick with stage 4 non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis. And he’s still trying to take care of everyone else first. It’s maddening and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a real reminder for me to share that you have to take care of yourself. You deserve to be number one sometimes. Whether it’s an extra day off, personal care or just having some alone time with your spouse where you can turn off your phone and do the things that make you happy. It’s what you want your employees to do, so why don’t you? It’s time to remind yourself that if you don’t self-care, who’s going to be around to take care of them?

Read More – For the Hot-Head

read more

Letter from the President

by Adam Zack — July 22, 2020

Adam Zack

It’s a reciprocal sign of respect and caring.

I read the bi-weekly blog of a young man (wait, that makes him sound like a kid – he’s almost 29 I think) named Stephen Nelson. He’s a Certified Financial Planner and is always looking for insight and ways to learn, improve and share. He’s one of those millennials that’s responsible, kind, inquisitive and a great listener. He’s pretty funny too. Where a lot of millennials have been stereotyped as selfish, entitled and out of touch with reality (some have earned that stereotype, a lot haven’t), Stephen is the opposite.So today as I was pondering just what topic to write about during what seems like week 4,000 of Covid, I got Stephen’s blog and it totally inspired me. You can read his here Most of you great leaders are not aware of how much weight your attention and the responses you give to employees and customers mean. You’re the president, or the CEO, Upper Management or the owner of a business that employs hundreds of people. You’re a rock star and a VIP. And although you may not see yourself as a celebrity or intimidating figure, to your employees you are the top...
read more

The Costco Tommy Bahama Dominance

by Adam Zack — July 15, 2020

Do you have the opportunity to dominate anything?

Have you been to the beach lately. Dumb question, most people haven’t been anywhere lately. Let me rephrase, have you been to the beach in the last few years? If you have, you would have noticed that about 70% of the beach chairs that beachgoers use are the Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler chairs. And of those millions of Tommy Bahama chairs, 75%+ are purchased from Costco. So how and why did this happen? First let’s start with the product.First, if you’ve ever lugged all your beach crap from the parking lot to your spot on the beach (especially if you have kids!) you will know how convenient it is to have a chair that you can carry on your back. Leaves the other hands free for the cooler and beach bag. Second, it’s a quality made, versatile product. With the cooler pocket, another pocket and arm pockets for your drink or keys or phone, it’s like the Swiss Army knife of beach chairs. Third, it’s a well-known, quality brand and it’s extremely affordable. At the current price of $27.99 at Costco (although some people, not to name names like my brother John Zack bought some online and paid something like $75) it’s a best buy. And then there’s the Tommy Bahama umbrellas. Someone very smart and savvy at Costc...
read more

Believe And Trust

by Adam Zack — July 8, 2020

Adam Zack

Faith in business dealings is incredibly important

It’s never wrong to do the right thing. Never. You treat people right, with respect, with a caring spirit and good things come your way. My simple definition of karma: What goes around, comes around. I’m not talking that you’ll win the lottery. Or that you’ll always be happy. Or that your life will be problem free. No, faith in doing the right thing means that you don’t have to worry about lies being uncovered. It means that your regrets will be fewer. It means you’ll have a clean conscience. It means that the gossipers have nothing on you. It means that you smile more. Really.Faith in business dealings is incredibly important. It’s not just about maximizing profits, reducing costs and beating the competition. Faith in business is trusting that your clients, vendors and customers share a common belief that when you all do the right thing, success will follow. It results in long term relationships that evolve into mutually caring bonds. And when you care, work becomes less of a job and more of a passion.Especially in times of social uncertainty, your business faith will be tested. Pessimism can yank you by the hair and try to snap your head back. You will question a...
read more


by Adam Zack — June 30, 2020

Can’t wait until the next time I screw up

There is an art to apologizing. No, I shouldn’t say art, because that implies that with a lot of practice and natural talent, you have got really good at something. Being sorry so often that you have become a professional apologizer is not something you brag about. As essentially good people, we are trying to behave in thoughtful ways that don’t require frequent apologies. But we all screw up. Whether intentional or not, we all do and say things that hurt or offend others. And when we do that, as good people, we need to atone for our transgressions in a meaningful way. Love grows from forgiveness, and true repentance heals both the transgressor and the victim. Where things get sticky, and can result in prolonged grief and bad feelings, is an apology that sounds insincere or is not specific. “Sorry I made you mad” doesn’t quite cut it. I read a lot, and a recent “Ask Amy” column in the newspaper (yes, some people still read the newspaper, but we are a dying breed) addressed making amends:There are three parts to a good amends: (1) tell them what you did (in other words, take responsibility for the harm); (2) ask them if you left anything out, or if there is anyth...
read more

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Tag Cloud:

  • Our Work: