When I left Kroger I was given three months pay, and a three-week training class to help develop me for a new career. Well after two weeks I was ready to work again and places my applications at both Publix and Ingles. Remember this was before the days of the internet and on-line job searches. After twenty years in the grocery retail business I knew I had the experience to succeed. A few days later the zone manager from Ingles called me in and after a short interview hired me as a store manager. I took the job and reported the next day to my training store. As always, I can in early and stayed late and after three weeks was given a store. The store I was assigned to reminded me of the first store I managed with Kroger just a little larger. Sales were down and it was losing money. A simple store walk told me why! Dirty, empty shelves and out of date product on the shelves. As I was walking the store, I also noticed that the customer service could be greatly improved.
Time to take notes and roll up the sleeves and work. The store’s last store manager was not a working manager and stayed up front most of the day. My style of management was a change for the store staff. Within a few weeks the store floors were cleaned and wax, shelves started to be fully stocked, and the perishable departments were freshened up. This required me working seven days a week, losing a few employees because of not liking their new assignments, and having to fire one for stealing. Sales started going up with the better store conditions and improved customer relations. They went up so much that the store manager from the Kroger up the street came and visited me just to see the improvement. For the next nine months the hard work was paying off and I even started to receive a few small bonus checks for improved sales and profits. Yes, the store was making a profit again after six months.
My paycheck was not as good as what I made at Kroger and my wife who had to go back to teaching, but we now had a good income to live on. Once again, I was building another career. Same position but with a different team and all new players and coaches. However, the one loss I felt was having to give up my past time hobby of golf. Could no longer afford it.