The Importance of Autonomy & Freedom for Our Independent Operators

Posted Oct 6th, 2017

The industry-standard for grocery store managers is to run their operation under restrictive interference from corporate. Here’s how Grocery Outlet bucks that trend.

For the vast majority of grocery store managers nationwide, the daily operation of the business is continually restricted by the “corporate vision,” with distant bosses calling the shots on every single detail, large or small. This constant corporate interference does no more than shackle the expertise of their managers and ignores the business ideas of these proven professionals. It’s happening in every big box grocery enterprise except one – Grocery Outlet.

Grocery Outlet leverages that experience, the undoubted industry acumen and those all-important business ideas of their Independent Operators by giving them complete autonomy and freedom when it comes to running the store. The payoff for our Independent Operators? Unlimited earning potential and a direct share in the profit of the stores they run. Now, where else is that the norm in the grocery retail sector?

A fine example of how this works so well can be seen with Bill Muzio and his wife Liz, the Independent Operators of the Bend, OR, Grocery Outlet store. This is their story.


A Catch-up and a Heads Up

Bill learned the grocery trade through 8 years of management at Safeway and Fresh & Easy stores, and one of the people he met during that time was the catalyst to where you’ll find Bill and Liz today, running the Grocery Outlet in Bend, OR. It all started with a simple phone call.

One day, Bill Muzio received a call from an old Fresh & Easy grocery store buddy. As they were catching up, his old colleague, now working with Grocery Outlet, was quick to point out how much he was enjoying life as an Independent Operator and the great benefits he was enjoying too. These included unlimited earning potential with a share in the profits, complete management autonomy within the store, and the ability to make a positive impact in the local community.

Bill Muzio, who had naturally heard about Grocery Outlet’s Independent Operators through the grapevine had this reaction: “What’s all this Kool-Aid everybody’s drinking? Is this really that good?” To Bill, the whole idea of being able to run your own big-name grocery store in a completely autonomous way, and enjoy the great benefits his buddy was describing, sounded, as he put it, “Too good to be true.”

You had the full autonomy, the freedom, and you had

the luxury of doing it your way from day one.”

Bill felt the need to pursue his interest and he did just that, getting in direct contact with us here at Grocery Outlet to find out more about the opportunity. These are the main attributes that Grocery Outlet are looking for in potential Independent Operators of the future, and Bill Muzio ticked every box with us:

  • A passion for retail
  • Background in big box or grocery retail
  • Desire to give back to the community
  • Attention to detail and creative thinking
  • A proven track record of success


Autonomy & Freedom

Becoming an Independent Operator with Grocery Outlet does require an initial investment on behalf of the prospective candidate, so they’ll have a vested interest in the success of their store. Bill and his wife Liz were a little short on capital, but that wasn’t a problem: “Grocery Outlet was able to help us with our initial investment.”

I think the flexibility it gives you and your family is priceless.”

Grocery Outlet accepted Bill and Liz into their training program, and it was during this time that they knew this was the right move for them. As Bill said, “It’s about halfway through training that you realize – you get to see the freedom operators have…” For Bill, that freedom, the complete control and autonomy it represented, was exactly what he’d been looking for in his grocery management career.


The Real Deal

Talking of reality, it doesn’t get any more real than opening up your store on your very first day as its Independent Operator, knowing this is it, and you truly are the boss now. As Bill said about those early days, “Literally, from week one to opening up, everything was exactly how it had been represented, if not better. You had the full autonomy, the freedom, and you had the luxury of doing it your way from day one,” Bill continued. As he affirmed, “This is the real deal.”

Clearly, with Bill, it’s the autonomy that Grocery Outlet is able to offer all its prospective Independent Operators that was the real clincher. As Bill said, as an Independent Operator, it’s about “the autonomy to be able to make the decisions that they find right for their customers or their family.”

Grocery Outlet was built on family values and that’s reflected in their empowerment of their operators. Bill agreed, “I think the flexibility it gives you and your family is priceless.”


One Particular Customer…

In the whole of Bill’s Grocery Outlet experience so far, there is one particular customer who remains at the forefront of his mind. This was back in Yreka, CA, at Bill and Liz’s first store. The customer, a mother with young kids, was just “so thankful” that Bill and Liz had opened a local Grocery Outlet store. The reason? As Bill recalled, “She was getting gouged by pricing” at another store, “and all her extra funds went towards food. Once we were able to open up our business, she was able to take that extra money that she was able to save on food costs, and actually take time with the family and go visit places for the first vacation they’d had in years.” In other words, Grocery Outlet’s cheaper grocery alternative had paid real and meaningful dividends for the family as a whole.

This clearly was a milestone in Bill’s appreciation of what he wanted from managing and operating his own store, and it stands as a clear reflection of what Grocery Outlet aims to provide in the communities it serves.

It was exactly how it had been represented, if not better.”

You can see Bill and Liz Muzio’s story below.


That Autonomy Sounds Good, Doesn’t it?

You can tell from Bill’s story above that he simply loves the autonomy of being a Grocery Outlet Independent Operator, and the freedom it gives him to provide for and serve his customers exactly how he wants to.

If their story has made you just a little bit curious as to what Grocery Outlet can do for you, why not get in contact yourself, just like Bill did?

You can get the ball rolling by simply clicking here and enroll in our no-obligation mutual evaluation process where you’ll learn:

  • Why Grocery Outlet Independent Operators earn more than conventional grocery managers, and
  • What grocery business and entrepreneurial skills you need to qualify to run your own store.

This is Bill and Liz Muzio’s story. Maybe one day, you’ll be telling your own.

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