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Buehler's IGA—Career Associates Make the Difference!

Author: Sheila Austin
Sheila AustinDecember 10, 2013

A message from...
Shelia Austin 
2014 IGA USA Retailer of the Year Finalist 
Buehler's IGA 
Houchens Food Group 
Darmstadt, IN 
LDC: Associated Wholesale Grocers

Look to The Independent View in the coming days to learn more about the Finalists in the running to become one of three 2014 IGA USA International Retailers of the Year. Today, Shelia Austin of Buehler's IGA shares the retailing philosophy and "best practices" that set her IGA apart from the competition.

If I have to narrow it down to one thing that sets us apart from the competition, it would have to be our unbelievably qualified store team.

Because we feel strongly about the success of our IGA workplace and believe that as a store team our training is never complete, we spend a lot of time and energy on learning. The combined knowledge from on-the-job training, mentoring, and IGA Coca-Cola Institute's online courses gives us a great advantage when it comes to being prepared to meet our customers' needs. Add to that monthly mystery shopper evaluations that allow us to learn what we're doing really well and where we could stand to improve, and you can see how we managed to maintain an average IGA Assessment score of 99 percent for the year.

In my opinion, a score like this speaks volumes about our associates' dedication to the Five Star standards on which the IGA Brand is built. As does the fact that more often than not when my team finishes online training classes that pertain to their departments, they voluntarily move on to learn about other departments in the store. And that those same associates go out of their way every single day to learn our customers' names, what products and services they like, and what we can do to make their experiences better in our store.

It's that kind of curiosity and enthusiasm that shows me this isn't just a job for most of our associates, it's a career—one that they're happy to be learning and growing in every day. You can see it in their smiles and in the warmth in their eyes and shoppers pick up on that.

So when it comes down to it, it seems there's really no better best practice than a happy, well-informed employee. Here at Buehler's IGA we have that covered, bar none!

Shelia Austin