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Balancing Customer Service and Community Contributions Is a Winning Formula

Author: Mike Trask

The Independent View

Mike Trask

Balancing Customer Service and Community Contributions Is a Winning Formula  

 December 7, 2012 

 

Granite Falls IGA is not just the only grocery store in our community; other than a few gas stations and a drug store, it's the only store period. That means we have a lot on our plate when it comes to taking care of our community's needs. We have a responsibility to balance great offerings and customer service with community contribution, and we're always looking for ways to make that happen.

On the store level, we concentrate on being at the forefront of innovation in every way. The overall fresh and modern presentation of our store, our well-trained and responsive employees, and our focus on carrying everything our shoppers need helps us stand out from the traditional chain stores in neighboring towns. But to us, standing out isn't enough. We want to be the best, so we focus a lot of our time and energy on things shoppers simply can't find anywhere else. For example, we promote and merchandise our IGA Exclusive Brand product line heavily, and endorse its quality with a 200 percent satisfaction guarantee. We have a Kids Club program that entitles kids to a free cake on their birthday, a free cookie every time they are in the store, and special offers throughout the year that are tied to our in-store events. And we have an email-based customer loyalty program that offers daily deals for shoppers.

On the community level, we try to help out in every way we can because people in our town really have nowhere else to turn. We hold local fundraisers, assist with city activities and host our own events—like an annual Easter Egg Hunt, KidsFest, and Holiday Open House—to keep a tight bond with the community. On top of that, we maintain two community-based donation programs: Our Help Fight Hunger for the Holidays program, where we match shopper donations to local food pantries, and our Hometown Heroes 1% Give Back program, which allows shoppers to designate a local charity that will receive a donation from us amounting to 1 percent of the shopper's purchases.

Granite Falls IGA 2012

When you're the only store in the community, your core philosophy really comes down to being everything to the people you serve. You become more than a retailer, your team is more than a group of employees, and your retail space is more than a store. You're a community leader, your employees are community organizers, and your store is a community hub. Add in working hard to meet all your community's grocery needs and you're saddled with a pretty big responsibility. But like the other IGA retailers I know, I wouldn't want it any other way!

Thanks,

Mike Trask