When Gary Casterline learned a competing grocery store was opening near his ShopRite of Greenwich in Phillipsburg, N.J., he didn’t flinch. Even when the company anticipated a 10-percent decline in sales, Casterline simply went to work to remind customers how much his store had to offer them.
Casterline and his associates launch events throughout the year to fund the community’s annual fight against hunger, last year raising more than $20,000. When an electricity outage hit the community recently, Casterline’s store partnered with the local power company to supply residents with water and ice. He and his associates made sandwiches for firefighters who were dealing with emergencies during the outage. On Earth Day, the store distributed free pine seedlings to customers and more than 20 associates volunteered in environmentally oriented activities around Phillipsburg.
The community responded by remaining loyal to ShopRite of Greenwich. Defying expectations, Casterline’s store suffered no drop-off in sales. In fact, it boosted net income by 67 percent and decreased shrinkage by 8 percent, repairs and maintenance by 13 percent and supply expenses by 7 percent. Thanks to a focus on staff safety, worker’s compensation costs were down 18.7 percent.
Casterline maintained his annual sales volume of $84 million even though a brand new large format store had moved in across the street.