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Where grocers are concerned, it appears that private operations provide the best working environment, if this year’s Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For” list is any indication. Of the five grocers on the list, only one is a public company.
The grocers who made the list are: Wegman’s Food Markets (No. 3), Nugget Market (No. 8), Stew Leonard’s (No. 18), public grocer Whole Foods Market (No. 24), and Publix Super Markets (No. 67).
Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans celebrated this morning with a company-wide cheer. “It’s a way to celebrate together, even though miles separate us,” explained Jo Natale, director of media relations.
“There is nothing more important to us than being a great place to work,” added CEO Danny Wegman. “When our people feel valued and cared about, they in turn, make our customers feel the same.”
Nugget Markets seeks to nurture a company culture and commitment to quality that are both positive and long lasting, and values a family-oriented work environment that supports a healthy work/life balance. “Our associates define who we are,” said Eric Stille, president and CEO of Nugget. “Without the undeniably creative, energetic, upbeat attitudes of our diverse family of associates, we wouldn’t be the company we are today. We’re incredibly grateful to work with such a talented group.”
Stew Leonards, Norwalk, Conn. made the list for its 10th consecutive year. "It is wonderful for my wife Marianne and me to see how Stew Leonard’s has grown from a little dairy store selling just seven items to the company it is today with more than $400 million in sales, four food stores and nine independently-owned wine shops,” said Stew Leonard Sr. “When we first opened in 1969, all of our employees really were family. Now, we hope that each of our 2,200 team members know that they are integral members of the Leonard family for all that they do.”
Stew Leonard’s rose in the list this year to spot number 18 from a 2010 ranking of 64. “The secret is simple: A great place to shop must first be a great place to work,” said Stew Leonard, Jr. CEO of Stew Leonard’s. “To achieve this level of service, we employ twice as many people per square foot as the average food retailer and provide least 50 hours of training per year for full-time team members. Plus, advantages like our comprehensive benefits plan, extensive on-site medical screenings, and competitive pay package, which includes profit sharing, helps us to retain some of the very best talent in the business. ”
Natural and organic foods retailer Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, is one of only 13 companies to earn “All Star” designation for having made the list every year since its inception 14 years ago.
Fortune cited “supporting healthy lifestyles of its team members” as a key factor in determining the company’s ranking. Whole Foods provides a 20 percent employee store discount, and employees who voluntarily opt to participate in the company’s healthy discount incentive program can receive up to an additional 10 percent store discount.
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix is another of the 13 companies that have made the list every year since it began, taking the No. 86 spot on this year’s list. Publix also ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s Best Large-Sized Company list, one of only four companies on the list with more than 100,000 employees. On Fortune’s Big Pay list, Publix ranked No. 27 for salaried employees and No. 84 for hourly employees. Publix also made the Fortune list of 18 companies to never have had a layoff and was the only company with more than 100,000 employees on this list.
“This recognition goes straight to our people who help make Publix a great place to work every day,” said Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. “All of our retail and support associates should be proud of this achievement.”