Category A: (1-25 Stores), Featured Manager, Winner

Al Gartner

Lunds & Byerlys
Woodbury, Minnesota

Al Gartner was the first manager in a store that Lunds & Byerlys acquired in Woodbury, Minnesota. Starting on Day 1, his task was to introduce the existing staff to the Lunds & Byerlys culture, one in which a unique shopping experience is created for every customer. The results are proof of his success. Nielsen market data indicates the overall Twin Cities grocery market witnessed a 2.7-percent decline in sales in 2017 over the previous year – But not Gartner’s store. Sales were ahead of the previous year and seven percent over budget.

“Al Gartner sets a great example for his team to emulate. He sees the best in every co-worker, customer and situation every day.”

Three out of four customers surveyed said they were “extremely satisfied” with the new shopping experience. But if you dig deeper into the customer satisfaction ratings, the news is even better.

Customers’ perception that they were “extremely satisfied” with the staff’s product knowledge was up eight percent; five percent more said they appreciated being acknowledged by staff members; and three percent more said they were impressed by the level of staff engagement.

Among many other changes, Gartner and his staff initiated a program to help shoppers answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” It was so successful in driving sales that the Woodbury store was selected for a pilot program this year offering meal kits.

He started rotating the shifts of staff leaders so that service levels and expertise were heightened at the busiest times of the day. An evening grocery supervisor was added to make sure store conditions remained strong right through closing time.

He enhanced training at all levels. For instance, employees in meat and seafood, bakery, deli and produce completed a program with classroom instruction and in-store demonstrations, all with the goal of expanding their product knowledge.