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ST. LOUIS -- Chuck Brendel, office services manager at Schnuck Markets, Inc.'s Maryland Heights, Mo. headquarters and Kenneth Hall Jr., manager of the family chain's East St. Louis, Ill. store, were saluted as the company's outstanding customer service and outstanding community service award winners, respectively.
Hall's and Brendel's awards, named in honor of two of the company's founding fathers, were awarded during Schnucks' annual service awards banquet Jan. 9, which was attended by nearly 500 associates at St. Louis' Chase Park Plaza.
Brendel was honored with the Donald O. Schnuck Award, which was established in 1991 in honor of the late Don Schnuck, who, along with his late brother Edward J. Schnuck, helped direct the family-owned company in its infancy.
Brendel said the award represents the highlight of his 31 years in the grocery industry. "Both Don and Ed Schnuck were great men that guided the first half of my career with Schnucks. It's an honor for me to have spent much of my life working for a company that cares so much about its associates, and an honor to receive this award."
Craig Schnuck, chairman and c.e.o. of Schnucks, said: "There is more to 'minding the store' than what people see on their visits to Schnucks. Chuck Brendel, the backbone of our office operations, recognizes that true customer service is like a chain, and each team member is a link in that chain. Chuck's contribution to the business is to ensure that daily office operations run smoothly and efficiently so that approximately 450 Lackland associates are all free to go about the business of serving their various customers. Presenting Chuck with this award is our way of ensuring that my father's spirit of customer service continues to live on within our organization."
In what he described as the pinnacle of his 50-year grocery retailing career, Hall was duly honored as the recipient of the Edward J. Schnuck award for outstanding community service, named in honor of the uncle of the six siblings who now run the family business.
"In 1995 I knew I was fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to work for such a caring company, a leader in the industry. After years in grocery I was pleased to be able to relearn the grocery business the Schnucks way—the right way," noted Hall, adding, "I am pleased to share these honors with my dear wife, Mary, also a long-time Schnucks associate, and with my entire store team."
Hall is a well-known personality in the East St. Louis community. He serves as chairman of the board of the Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital, named for his late father. He is an active member of the East St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, the Greater St. Louis Regional Empowerment Zone, the Rotary Club and the Metro East Weather Crisis Task Force.
Commenting on Hall's award, Schnuck's president and c.e.o. Scott Schnuck said Hall was selected for the outstanding service to the East St. Louis community. "Ken came to Schnucks in 1995 with the National acquisition and immediately immersed himself in our company culture. Over the years he has demonstrated that he embraces my late uncle's philosophy that community service and customer service are intertwined and it's important to deliver on both."
Hall also serves on the board of the St. Clair Vocational Enterprise group and on the Shiloh, Ill. Board of Police Commissioners. Additionally, he has been active in service and fundraising for the United Way.
Schnuck leaders credit Hall with helping to keep the ailing East St. Louis store afloat despite unique challenges, including unusually high overhead and an onslaught of competition in an area where population continues to decline. But in recent weeks, and despite Hall and his store team's efforts, the ailing store was on the brink of closing.
Operating now on a temporary extension from the landlord, Hall and other company leaders continue to work vigorously with key community leaders to keep the store open and to earn back customers lost when the impending closure was announced.
Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 102 stores (including five Logli stores) and 96 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi.