Grocery Outlet Porterville Awarded Business Of The Year

Posted Jul 14th, 2018
Grocery Outlet Porterville Awarded Business Of The Year

How Being Independent Operators Changed A Family And Affected A Community

Darwin and Lizbeth Lara’s Grocery Outlet store in Porterville, CA has been named as the City’s Outstanding Business for 2018.

For Darwin and Lizbeth, Grocery Outlet has made a big difference not only to their family but also to their community. Grateful for the rewards of being an Independent Operator, the Lara family never ceases to help and give back to the community.

Spending More Time With People That Matter And Having A Quality Life

Darwin and Lizbeth Lara Grocery Outlet Porterville Awarded Business Of The Year Grocery Outlet Indepent Operator

The decision to be an Independent Operator is something Lizbeth and Darwin agreed to do together. Although Darwin was the one with extensive experience in the industry, the husband-and-wife team work together in running their GO store. Now, even their children are helping them out, making their store a dedicated family-run business. For them, this is a dream come true – Operate a store independently, bring in their kids, and educate them while working together as a whole family.

Darwin recalls, “I worked for Walmart for 20 years and the last position I held was as a store director. My wife was a stay-at-home mom for about 16 years. As our kids were growing up, she was getting more ready to go to work.”

Lizbeth shared the struggles they had when her husband was still working for Walmart. She said, “Having a husband and not being able to spend time with him, especially on Thanksgiving, birthdays, anniversaries, and those special events, was hard.”

“Since coming to Grocery Outlet, things are different now. For Thanksgiving, we can plan what we will do. We can have dinner as a family every night. He can attend the kid’s games at school. Being with GO makes it so much different and we love it.”

Darwin also shared how being an Independent Operator has changed their family life. He says, “I think I can summarize our experience with two words, ‘quality life’.”

“We’ve got to do what we got to do but at the end of the day, there’s so much flexibility. Timewise, I can stop anytime and go watch my kid’s game and then come back and resume my work.”

He also added, “I couldn’t do that in my previous job. I was just attached to the business 24/7 and there were no gaps and no leeway. It was time-consuming and I missed all these important events with my family. It’s never going to come back. Once you’ve missed it, you missed it.”

For the couple, having their own GO store has enabled them to spend more quality time with their kids, bringing their family closer together.

As Independent Operators, You Can Make A Difference

Helping their community has been the couple’s lifelong dream. Aside from the flexibility on how they spend their time now, their GO store has allowed them to reach out and touch other people’s lives as well.

Darwin says, “We like to help people. I think it’s in our blood.”

“Grocery Outlet isn’t just about having a job but being able to run your own business. GO is family-oriented.”

The family business has also enabled them to support their community by providing job opportunities. Lizbeth says, “This also gave us the opportunity to employ more people. People out there looking for jobs who needed to support their family. We know how it is to have a family and you need an income to be able to support your kids and your wife. It’s awesome that we can provide jobs for our community.”

When it comes to giving back to the community, the store goes above and beyond in helping others. Among the beneficiaries of their GO store are the veterans.

Lizbeth says, “We can help a nonprofit organization through Grocery Outlet. Not every job can do this. We also have a special veterans parking space. It is awesome to think we’re able to not only support our community, but also the people out there fighting for our country.”

“We also have coupons for veterans. GO gives us all those opportunities to not just serve the community but to go beyond that.”

Darwin adds, “If anything, we need to thank Grocery Outlet because if it wasn’t for them, even if we want to help, even if we want to try to make a difference, we couldn’t if it wasn’t for GO.”

Being An Independent Operator Allows You To Give Back To Your Community

Darwin and Lizbeth Lara Grocery Outlet Porterville Awarded Business Of The Year Grocery Outlet Indepent Operator
Photo c/o by Chieko Hara | Christian Cornejo, left, and Amber Gutierrez pack food items into bags Thursday at Grocery Outlet in Porterville.

When asked how having a GO store of their own have enabled them to help, the couple recalls some ways they’ve been able to give back.

Darwin says, “When we take our kids to school, we know their principals, they know us, and this is how we connect. They know we try our best to help. For instance, when they have an event in school, we support those initiatives and provide them with food.”

Darwin and Lizbeth are involved in their local schools. For the college, they have been supporting the job fair by setting up a table at the event. Another example, they’ve supported the tennis club at their local high school.

Currently, the family is supporting a summer program by providing snacks for nearly 100 students. For Darwin and his wife, encouraging the kids to stay active, keeping them away from trouble, and helping them to stay focused is a big deal for the couple.

The family is also set out to do a backpack giveaway for the school where they will be donating a hundred backpacks to students.

Teaching Kids The Value of Hard work

For Darwin and Lizbeth, getting their kids involved in their business is important. Lizbeth shares, “It’s a blessing to see my kids become a part of this great thing. They learn how to be responsible and help others. It’s brought us closer as a family.  Grocery Outlet gives us the opportunity to work and grow together.”

She adds, “They always help when needed. It’s a great thing to see the kids learn about responsibility and giving back. They see our customer’s gratitude for us. Our kids realize it’s not just about receiving but it’s also about giving back.”

Darwin says, “One of the statements our kids always bring up is we work hard, and we are also able to help the community. They see that we are making a difference in families. They see that we are rewarded with what we do, especially with this [Business Of The Year] award that was just given to us.”

Reaping The Rewards Of Dedication

When it comes to the 2018 Outstanding Business Award they received, Darwin shared a rather funny story. He says, “I got a call from the city manager saying they would like to have a meeting with me. I thought that maybe I was in trouble or I did something wrong because they didn’t tell me what it was about.”

He continues, “When we met, they told us they have this program once a year where they select three businesses they believe have made a difference. Out of the three, they chose Porterville Grocery Outlet. They believe we deserve the recognition. We are so honored.”

“It was overwhelming, and we can’t thank them enough for the recognition. They said, ‘If you guys think that what you are doing is not being known, we’re letting you know that that’s not true because we see everything that you do’.”

“We’re not doing it to be recognized. We’re doing this because that’s our culture and what we’ll be doing for the rest of our lives.”

“Now I’m so grateful. Thanks to GO for that.”

Make Your Dreams a Reality

If you are also dreaming of being able to help your community while being there for your family, this might be the best time to make your dreams come true.

Just as Darwin experienced working at Walmart for 20 years, many people in upper management in the retail industry have limited time with their family.

If you can relate to Darwin’s struggle of not having enough time with your family, and missing important events because of your job, then maybe it’s time to make a change.

Learn more about how you can experience the freedom of running a store the way you want. Find out what it takes to become an Independent Operator.    

Recent stories from the blog: