Stories of 4 Walmart Managers: Why They Left Their Jobs To Join Grocery Outlet
Attracted by our family-oriented approach and income opportunity, these former Walmart managers are excited to be joining Grocery Outlet
In the past few months, Grocery Outlet has welcomed quite a few Independent Operators in training who have extensive experience working at Walmart before joining our team.
We’re very excited to have them bring along their knowledge and skillset to enrich our community of store owners.
But you may wonder, what prompted them to leave the comfort of working for a large corporation to venture out on their own?
We talked to four of these rockstar Independent Operators in training to find out what inspired them to take the leap:
Dave and Teresa Hogan: Putting the Human Element Back Into Retail Management
Dave started working for Walmart in 1992 as a stocker. Then he joined the management program and became a district manager supervising pharmacies in Massachusetts.
He went on to take a role as a market manager for the New York Metro area before moving to Connecticut where he oversaw marketing for 8 years.
Dave and Teresa then moved to San Diego, where he ran some of the Walmart stores until he officially retired in March 2018. They came across Grocery Outlet and started their Independent Operator training two weeks later.
“After making a lot of money for a big corporation for many years, it’s time to make some money for me,” said Dave.
Dave has always wanted to display merchandises the way he wanted and has been talking about running his own business for years. When the couple walked into mom-and-pop shops during their travels, Dave often said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to just own one of these little places?”
Walmart used to give store managers more control over how they ran their stores, but recently more restrictions were imposed.
Dave also observed that years ago he was able to have an impact on the community and the individuals who worked at the store. However, the corporate red tapes have taken this “human” element out of big-box retail in recent years.
He always finds interacting with people to be the most fulfilling part of his career. It was meaningful for him when he put employees in a position where they can take responsibilities and exceed their own expectations. He’s excited about having the opportunity to help people make the best of their lives at Grocery Outlet.
David And Maria McLean: Having the Autonomy Without Sacrificing Support
David worked as a MEM (marketing electronics merchandiser) for most of his six years at Walmart while Maria spent eight years as a manager.
At Walmart, David didn’t have the autonomy to determine the merchandise for his store. He was often stuck with products that didn’t meet the demands of the local market.
They chose to become Grocery Outlet Independent Operators because David wanted more autonomy.
He also wants to have a sense of partnership and know that he can reach out for help whenever he needs the support. He appreciates how there’s always a resource they can contact — whether it’s someone from corporate or other Independent Operators — whenever they have questions or need
Debbie Wohlers: Being Rewarded For Hard Work and Creativity
Debbie worked at Walmart for 26 years before a couple of her friends, who are Independent Operators, introduced her to Grocery Outlet.
Both spoke highly of their experience with Grocery Outlet, and it prompted her to pursue the opportunity as she always wanted to run her own business.
When Debbie was working at Walmart, she felt like a small fish in a big pond. “Even if you do a very good job, the recognition wasn’t always there,” she said. “But as a business owner, you experience the results of your hard work much faster. It’s also more rewarding when you’re doing it for yourself.”
In addition, she appreciates the opportunity to experiment and be creative. “There isn’t someone holding you back and saying you can or can’t do certain things. I get to try different ideas and know that if I work hard, I’ll find the winning combination.”
Debbie enjoys learning from other successful Independent Operators. They’re nice, humble, and approachable — a reflection of the corporate culture that drives the success of the company.
Mario and Michell Guajardo: Building a Culture Driven By People
Mario and Michell have 17 and 25 years of experience running multiple Walmart stores before they joined Grocery Outlet.
One reason that prompted the Guajardos to leave Walmart was the change in its corporate culture.
Michell spoke highly of how Walmart took care of its people in the past. However, during the past few years, the company has lost that culture and the “hometown” feel. The couple is disappointed about how decisions have become political, and loyal employees were losing their jobs.
“The operation had turned into a checklist, and it’s no longer the culture that we felt in our heart,” said Michell.
Mario and Michell were attracted to Grocery Outlet’s family atmosphere and the culture of taking care of people. They’re excited to be part of the company’s expansion and to build a culture that resonates with them.
In addition, they were enticed by the opportunity to run their own business. After all, they have years of experience and know how to make money in a retail business. They want to be responsible for their own profitability and break through the income ceiling.
What’s Your Vision As a Retail Manager?
As Michell told us, it took some courage and faith to take the leap and leave her job, but it was freeing and fulfilling when she did. She couldn’t be happier about her decision.
If you’re an experienced retail store manager who cares about the people you work with, wants to make an impact in the community, is ready to have more autonomy in how you run your store, and thinks it’s time to take control of your income — we’d love to welcome you to the Grocery Outlet family.
Take the first step to explore this opportunity by scheduling an appointment with one of our recruiters to see what’s possible.