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.  🙂 Want a chance to win two tickets to Chicago and Doobie Brothers concert at SPAC?! Open your world with Chicago and Doobie Brothers! Part 2/4 of the spectacular summer giveaways sponsored by Heineken starts today! Enter to win two tickets to Chicago and Doobie Brothers show at SPAC on August 21st! Every Thursday we will be posting a new contest-so be sure to check back with us each week for updates! Does listening to Chicago and the Doobie Brothers bring you back to the good old days?  We have two tickets to their show at Saratoga Performing Arts Center that you could win!  To enter, leave a comment below AND on our Facebook page by August 14th at 2:00PM telling us your favorite song from the ‘70s and why you love it!   The Chicago and Doobie Brothers concert at SPAC will be on Tuesday, August 21st at 7:30PM. Along with the two tickets to the show, the winner will also receive a preferred parking pass.  The winner will be announced on August 15th. Read official rules here. Summer is the perfect time for us to relax, take a breath and reflect back on the school year. We know from our own experiences and from our child’s experiences that balancing school and life can be a challenge. The American Girl Doll “Girl of the Year”, McKenna is a great example that you can reach your dreams despite challenges that come your way. McKenna loves gymnastics, but struggles with reading, so she gets extra help after school. McKenna uses her strengths and great attitude to turn her challenges into triumphs-both at the gym and at school. Do you admire McKenna’s amazing attitude and strength?  Does her determination remind you of your child?  We want to hear your their stories! Have your child tell us about a challenge they have faced and how they’ve used their talents or strengths to overcome that challenge.  You’ll be entered to win four tickets (2 adults and 2 children) to the New York City Ballet American Girl Night at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) on Wednesday, July 11th at 8:00PM as well as two McKenna dolls! The winner will be announced on Friday, July 6th, 2012. The New York City Ballet American Girl Night is always one of the most popular nights in Saratoga! SPAC and American Girl Place host this celebration each year for girls and their families. At this event, children are encouraged to bring their dolls and experience a fun night of music, American Girl crafts, pink lemonade, sugar cookies, photo booths and great American Girl Doll giveaways! Have your child leave a comment below AND on our Facebook page by Thursday, July 5th about how they have overcome a challenge and you could win four tickets to the New York City Ballet American Girl Night and two McKenna dolls!  Read official rules here.