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As we rechristen PG’s Aisle Chatter blog as it sets sail after an extended hiatus, I’ve got a bona fide feel-good fish tale to share about Terry Horton, seafood manager at Ralphs Supermarket at Olympic and Barrington in West Los Angeles.
Before continuing, it bears noting that this exceptional tale of front-line talent melds superbly with “my favorite assignment” coverage, with an industry success story that not only furthers my admiration for the profound role supermarkets play in Americans’ lives on a daily basis, but which also serves as inspiration for fellow food retailers striving to set the differentiation bar higher while enhancing the communities they serve.
But back to Terry Horton, whose exceptional customer service skills in his role as seafood manager lured Ralphs Supermarket customer Lovelace Lee III to establish a “citizen’s recognition award” in his honor.
“I have to be as healthy as possible,” declares Lee, business growth consultant and president of the consulting firm Robert Lucy Creative. “For two years Terry Horton has been instrumental in helping me live up to that goal.”
Lee says Horton’s attentive, knowledgeable service and caring heart was unlike anything he’d ever experienced in a conventional supermarket. As a result, he felt extra-special recognition was in order for Horton – above and beyond the many achievement awards he’s earned at the L.A.-based Kroger subsidiary during his 23 years of service -- with a new designation Lee created in Horton's honor called “Master Seafood Manager.”
“Terry provides a level of service that needs to be recognized at the highest levels,” Lee says. “He keeps me abreast of new types of seafood available, prices and even methods of preparation. I’m much better because of him.”
Lee hopes to see The Kroger Co. cast the new “Master Seafood Manager” designation companywide to seafood managers with a minimum of 15 years of service; who create stunning seafood display cases; and who consistently demonstrate the highest levels of service.
To seal the deal, Lee presented a hand-crafted “Master Seafood Manager” plaque he had made for Horton. “It is not fancy or expensive,” says Lee. “However, it was painstakingly crafted with love and respect to recognize a rare level of professionalism.”
And though the “citizen’s award” is not officially sanctioned by The Kroger Co., Lee hopes Ralphs’ parent company will find merit in his idea to help further motivate front-line teams while fostering a companion grassroots recognition program.
Hats off to Horton!
Meanwhile, what do you think of Lee’s locally-driven “people’s choice” supermarket employee recognition program?