Written By Jerry Golub, CEO Jerry_jamOne of the most enjoyable aspects of our business is helping our customers celebrate their holiday traditions as they come together to create special moments and lasting memories.   Knowing that we play this role is incredibly fulfilling, as it speaks to our higher purpose and the important difference we can make in peoples’ lives. As I visit our stores during the holiday season, it’s apparent that our teammates share this feeling.  The excitement of the season seems to transcend their interactions with our shoppers and with each other.  As a result, the bonds that have been built over time between our teammates and shoppers appear to be highlighted and strengthened as a result of those exchanges. As a company, we are completely focused on delivering a great shopping experience on a consistent basis throughout the year.  Whether someone is shopping for a special occasion such as their holiday meal, or to satisfy any number of everyday needs, our goal is to be viewed by each customer as a valuable resource.  In order to accomplish this, we depend on all our teammates to understand and meet our shoppers’ many different needs through their interactions with thousands of individuals every day. I believe those interactions between our teammates and our customers have been even more important this holiday season than in past years.  During a time of uncertainty and disruption for many around the world, the reassurance of everyday connections we share and the caring we show each other during our daily routines can act as a very powerful grounding force for everyone. So I have two messages this holiday season. First, to all our teammates, I want to thank you for the incredible job you do.  You are able to set aside the pressures of your own daily lives, and focus on delivering a great shopping experience to our customers every day of the year.  For that, I am extremely grateful. Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a very happy, healthy, and fulfilling new year.  May 2016 bring an increased awareness of the humanity we all share and with it a universal goal of achieving peace, both in our own homes and in the world. Happy New Year, everyone. Musical Inspiration:  Here’s a recording of a classic, but very timely song, performed by some exceptionally talented local high school students at the 2007 “Melodies of Christmas” concert at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady.  This annual concert benefits the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center, and is also broadcast on Albany’s CBS station on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxCOrfS_NY0       Written by Jerry Golub, CEO Jerry_jam What do the following TV shows have in common? The answer is that they all depict a version of the American family in today’s world.  Whether multi-generational, single parent, mixed race, alternative lifestyle, or even what many would consider the “traditional” American family, the make-up of the family structure in the United States is much different than it was thirty years ago.  In short, we’ve evolved well beyond “Ozzie and Harriet” or “Leave It to Beaver”, to a society where families are defined much more diversely than ever before. When we speak about our higher purpose of helping people feed and care for themselves and their families, we think of families in the broadest sense.  A great example of this is the customer who told us he shops at one of our stores for a volunteer fire department.  He is preparing meals for a group of individuals who bond like family.  In fact, we want to be there for our customers and their families, however they are defined. One thing is clear, however: no matter how you may define your family, having meals together brings you closer.  For families with children, there are many studies that document the benefits of having regular family meals, including an increased parent-child connection, higher scholastic performance, and a lower incidence of substance abuse, among others.  Food certainly nurtures the body, but the opportunity enjoy it with the people who you care about most can also nurture the soul! That’s why we support National Family Meals Month with our annual September ‘Family Mealtimes Matter’ program, which provides tips, recipes and nutritional guidance that encourages families to enjoy one more meal together each week.  This program is our way highlighting the many benefits of family meals.  Sure, it’s also good for our business, but it goes well beyond that.  In today’s chaotic world, it’s always good to know that there are people who are there for you, and vice versa.  Spending time with the ones we love helps us to remember what’s truly important in our lives, doesn’t it? Musical Inspiration: Crosby, Stills and Nash got it right with this song—with our actions, we are truly guiding the next generation. Jerry_jamWritten by Jerry Golub, CEO  When I became CEO three years ago, it was not only an important moment in my life, but a milestone in the history of our company—the transition to a third generation of family leadership in a company that was founded 80 years ago by two brothers who aspired to make a difference in peoples’ lives.  Ben (my grandfather) and Bill Golub led the company for 40 years, literally building something from nothing.  Their sons, Lewis (my father) and Neil, led the company for another 40 years, building on their fathers’ vision.  They grew the company significantly, and although we are still fairly small by industry standards, they set the stage for our success in a very competitive and constantly changing industry.  We are proud to be one of few family-led companies that have made it to the third generation. This is a huge accomplishment and a testament to all of the talented and committed people who have made contributions along the way. So now what? Simply put, we honor our past and focus squarely on the future. As many people know, we’re in the process of making a number of significant changes to ensure that our company meets the needs of our customers for years to come.  I’ll write more about those changes in future blogs.  But I’d be remiss if I didn’t begin by focusing on the context for these changes—why we’re even here to begin with. Financial success is a goal of most businesses, and we are certainly no exception.  However, I genuinely believe that a family-led business is uniquely positioned to make a difference in the world.  It may sound corny, but part of what connects me to this company is knowing that we are guided by our founding brothers’ strong values and belief that we could make a difference in peoples’ lives. One of the things I love about our business is that it touches nearly everyone.  As a result, I have the advantage of hearing from lots of people about their experiences in our stores.  I hear the good, the bad, and sometimes even the ugly.  And frankly, the incredible connection we have to our customers’ lives never ceases to amaze me.  We help families enjoy daily meals together.  We also help them celebrate special occasions and gather together in times of need. We provide nutritious, fresh foods and information that helps people eat well and stay healthy.  We help our customers meet their budgets for food and other important products.  And so much more. Through all these conversations, I’ve come to learn that we do make a difference in peoples’ lives and that our “higher purpose,” is to help people feed and care for themselves and their families.  Bigger than any one of us, our higher purpose is about our place in the world.  It’s also something that every one of our teammates helps us accomplish every day.  It’s one of the biggest reasons why I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this company, and more committed than ever to helping us achieve the vision that established this company eighty years ago.  I don’t think there is a better way of honoring our past than incorporating it into our future. Musical Inspiration A higher purpose can be important to companies or individuals.  James Taylor, whose music I’ve loved for decades, certainly felt that way when he wrote this song.  The third verse makes me think of those wonderful summer night James Taylor concerts at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) over the years.  By the way, James has been known to visit our store in Lenox, MA from time to time.  🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxICxWu8vGs&list=PL0gxBcF2Ofh4QRU6FUNdy9BzLsdqGckH1