Category B: (26-199 Stores), Winner

Ricky Myers

D&W Fresh Market, SpartanNash
Grand Rapids, Michigan

When a competing store opened directly across the street from his D&W Fresh Market in Grand Rapids, Mich., Ricky Myers was ready for it. No new fresh format was going to out-fresh him! The first step in his campaign to match the competition was a laser-like focus on all the fresh departments in the store: wellness, organic, gluten-free, bulk foods, meal solutions and especially produce.

“Ricky Myers’ D&W Fresh Market “out-freshed” the fresh competition and boosted sales by 6.8 percent.”

Myers made every day seem a like a grand opening with new promotions all the time that focused on the superior quality of its produce (more than 300 organic items and 411 bulk options), meats, seafoods, artisan bread program and deli (with more than 300 different specialty cheeses.).

Before the new competitor opened, he held meetings with every single one of his 175 associates to address the new sales and customer service initiatives, obtaining a personal commitment from each of them that they were with him in the battle. That commitment from his team paid off in December when he challenged his team to set an all-time sales record for the week of Christmas. Midway through Christmas Eve, they broke that record and eventually wrapped up the week with $648,000 in sales. Myers spent the next two and a half hours touring the store and thanking every associate individually.

The final component of Myers’ campaign was his “Code 4-7” project. He knew that customer service scores typically drop off after 5 p.m. when senior managers leave the store for the day. While Myers gives each department the freedom to set their own schedules, he did mandate that each manager or assistant manager close two nights a week. He or his assistant store director are in the store until closing five nights a week.

Finally, at 3:30 p.m. every afternoon a “Code 4-7” is announced over the intercom and every associate knows it’s time to face up the perimeter and check their department for cleanliness and well-stocked shelves to ensure the customers coming in during prime time were going to experience the same “grand opening” ready store. These efforts pushed annual sales to $24.4 million, up 6.8 percent from last year