Grocery Outlet Independent Operators make marketing and community outreach a family affair

Posted Jun 7th, 2017

The Wheelers’ kids regularly participate in store events, one of many grocery manager responsibilities

When Grocery Outlet decided to launch a fun internal competition to see which stores would sell the most bananas, the Wheeler family decided to give it their all, but 5-year-old Benjamin really got into the act. He donned a monkey hat and stood outside his parents’ Citrus Heights, CA, location encouraging customers to “Go Bananas.”

Such full-throated participation from the Wheelers’ three boys is par for the course, says Sara Wheeler, who is the Independent Operator of the Citrus Heights location along with her husband, Paul. The grocery manager responsibilities might be numerous but with the Wheelers it’s all hands on deck in many ways, and the community really appreciates such efforts, Sara says.

The Wheelers love Grocery Outlet’s flexible approach

The Wheeler family is pictured, the adults in denim button-down shirts and the children in black Grocery Outlet branded polo shirts. The father is holding the youngest boy in his arms.
Paul and Sara Wheeler, Independent Operators of Grocery Outlet’s Citrus Heights, CA, location, enjoy having their sons Noah, Benjamin and Trevett participate in store events. The community loves it too.

Sara and Paul were working as food service and produce managers respectively at Raley’s in Bel Air, CA, but were tired of punching a clock day in and day out. With three kids, they were looking for a little flexibility. They had heard of friends who were delighted with Grocery Outlet and decided to dive in themselves in April 2014.

The Wheelers have been delighted with their business decision and appreciate how Grocery Outlet allows Independent Operators to have a meaningful life while running their own business. “Now we have so much more flexibility with Grocery Outlet,” Sara says, “If I need to leave to go to one of my kids’ school events I can, if they have a doctor’s appointment I can go. I don’t have to ask anyone. The kids even come to the store; I couldn’t take my kids to work with me before.”

Two boys stand to the right of a hand-operated prize wheel labeled ‘Wheel of Bargains’ under a tented shelter on a sunny patch of concrete.
Trevett and Noah Wheeler working the Wheel of Bargains at a store event for their parents, Paul and Sara Wheeler, who are independent operators of Grocery Outlet’s Citrus Heights, CA, store.

Through Grocery Outlet, the Wheelers have been able to impart valuable life lessons to their kids, Sara says, including the importance of giving back.

Grocery Outlet gives Independent Operators complete autonomy

For example, every year the Wheelers participate in Grocery Outlet’s Independence from Hunger campaign, raising money for local food banks, and the Wheelers’ sons, Trevett, 14, Noah, 12, and Benjamin, 5, help by filling pre-assembled bags with food that customers can pick up and they also create signs for the events.

Trevett and Noah work the Wheel of Bargains when the Wheelers participate in marketing events, and they will even dress up as Ben and Lois, retired Grocery Outlet mascots, to add a fun touch to those events.

The small community appreciates such participation, and it helps customers realize that the Grocery Outlet is a family business, Sara says. “They know we’re not a big corporation looking to line our pockets.”

 A little boy with his face painted to look like he’s wearing a superhero mask stands on a sidewalk, flanked by two people in plush mascot costumes.
Five-year-old Benjamin Wheeler hangs out with Ben and Lois, retired Grocery Outlet mascots.

For those looking to leverage a grocery manager career into their own business, Grocery Outlet is the best move, Sara says. “We’re doing better than we ever have and we have so much flexibility, it’s amazing. We highly recommend it. Especially for us, with the challenges of balancing a family and work, the flexibility that Grocery Outlet gives us means a lot to us. And we love that we can give back to the community in so many ways, too.”

Learn more about Grocery Outlet

If you’re interested in learning more about and how you can leverage your experience into your own business, we urge you to consider Grocery Outlet. You can download our free information report for more details about our business and grocery manager responsibilities or learn more by visiting our research pages.

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