What Independent Operators Have to Say
Why Grocery Outlet is a good fit for our valued independent operators
Since Jim Read created an Operator Agreement on a napkin with his first independent operator in 1973, the Read family has helped hundreds of family-operated businesses gain higher rewards that closely reflected the dedication and hard work that they’ve put into their stores. Grocery Outlet has even helped some independent operators find the necessary capital to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.
Travis and Rose Dawson are independent operators of a Grocery Outlet in San Francisco. They opened their 9,000-square-foot store a week before Thanksgiving in 2013.
“I heard about this opportunity through my wife, Rose,” says Travis. “We didn’t have the capital to open a franchise.”
The California couple hit hard times while living away in South Carolina and found themselves in mountains of personal debt prior to opening a Grocery Outlet. Travis was a conventional grocery store director for 20 years and ran a large beverage store for four years. They were hit hard by the 2008 recession and couldn’t help but feel stuck with a fixed salary.
Since Travis and Rose opened their Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, they have seen their sales and personal income make great strides. In February 2015 they found their store selling 33% more than it did one year prior. They’ve enjoyed their independence as independent operators, as well as their success.
“We can order whatever merchandise we want and have more time to involve ourselves in the community and help more people,” says Travis. “Grocery Outlet wants you to be successful. Grocery Outlet independent operators don’t want to leave this. None of the independent operators want to leave it. I’m often asked what I enjoy most about this, and it’s the quality of life. I’m involved in the community more, and we can make decisions for ourselves and our customers.”
In 2015, Jason and Kathy Olson entered their eighth year as independent operators. Previously, Jason was a store manager for a Haggen Northwest Fresh grocery store in Bellingham, Washington. They currently operate a store in Pleasant Hill, California, located east of Oakland. Jason and Kathy’s store is 9,700 square feet with inventory consisting of hundreds of thousands of dollars of product. They turn that inventory significantly higher than the company average.
Jason had a friend who was an independent operator of a Grocery Outlet. He often joked with him over his misperception of the store, but he became a believer after he took a closer look at the company and was ready to invest in a grocery store of his own with Grocery Outlet.
“I had no aspiration to be in the corporate environment where you can’t create your own destiny,” Jason says.
The transition wasn’t easy. It required a lot of hard work and sacrifice while they invested in marketing and advertising. The couple ran commercials throughout the area to bring exposure to their store. But their hard work and sacrifice paid off.
Jason now makes three times more than he did as a store manager with Haggen and in early 2015, together with his wife, was recognized by Pleasant Hill as its Business Person of the Year.