Whole Story

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Store Stories: Preparing for Snow

By Kate Demase, February 17, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Kate Demase
It’s only the middle of February, but here in New England — and in much of the country — it feels like we’ve been permanently relocated to the arctic. At our stores, protocol is different on a snow day, but the preparation starts the day before. As a store manager, I pay close attention to the weather all year round, but especially in the winter – lots of things need to be adjusted in the event of a storm. When we get word that snow is coming, we start by modifying our orders to make sure we have enough of everyone’s essential items, such as bottled water, milk, toilet paper and baby food. Next, we take a look at our staffing. The day before the storm is typically quite busy, as customers understandably want to get their shopping in before the roads get icy. To keep up with demand, we call in extra Team Members to make sure everyone gets what they need. Depending on when the storm is going to hit, we also shift schedules around. We make sure Team Members who live close to the store are scheduled to work opening shifts if the store is going to hit overnight, and we make sure anyone with a particularly bad commute is scheduled to have the day off or to go home early. The safety of our Team Members is always our top priority. Making sure the building is safe is also very important. Wet floor signs are put out to warn customers of any puddles that form from melting snow boots, our maintenance crew is doubled, and shovels and ice melt are always on hand for walkways. We also make sure to take care of our roofs — removing snow and icicles on a regular basis protects us from getting leaks. And, finally, talking to our landlords and keeping in touch with our snowplow companies helps us keep our parking lots clear for customers. After the storm hit, things can be slow in the store as most people are happy to be holed up cooking the food they bought the day before. But as long as it is safe, Whole Foods Market is open for business, so we find different ways to pass our time.  On slow days we have time for extra cleaning in our departments, as well as time for extra training. Our Team Members are encouraged to take a seat at our break room computers to train on the many Whole Foods Market sponsored Podcasts available, and our In-Store Educators are available for “I Wonder” trainings — on the spot trainings about whatever a Team Member might be curious about. Wondering about the different varieties of honey we have available? Or why coffee tastes different when it comes from a different region? There’s an “I Wonder” for that! Most of all, we always have time for fun on a slow snow day. For the brave Team Members who make it to the store, we usually provide a free lunch and hot chocolate throughout the day. Our Team Members are here to serve you, and it’s my job as a manager to keep them smiling.
Category: Random Stuff

 

3 Comments

Comments

Helen Grant says ...
Wholefoods never ceases to amaze me.You are to be commended for your hard work and the integrity behind it. I find joy in visiting Wholefoods whenever I go. Thank you for all you do.
02/17/2011 5:16:05 AM CST
Tiare Pena says ...
I live in San Leandro, California. I must travel either to San Ramon or Oakland to shop at Whole Foods. I am inquiring as to whether your store might locate in Castro Valley, CA there is an available store site. Having a Whole Foods store would be ideal. Good eating! Tiare Pena
02/17/2011 12:24:17 PM CST
Lotus Flower says ...
It's stories like this that make me Wish I could work at Whole Foods! Been trying for over a year applying for various positions, but so far no luck :-( I'm in the South so I'm sure store needs will be different here than in N.E., but I'm curious if, as a store manager, you have any pointers for what you look for in prospective WF employees?
02/27/2011 10:05:02 PM CST