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Doing Things ‘The Brookshire Way’

CFO outlines grocer’s unique approach to business during Grocery Impact event
BCG Michael Arnett Grocery Impact Main Image
During his presentation at Progressive Grocer's Grocery Impact event, Brookshire Grocery Co. CFO Michael Arnett recognized the company's Generation Next and Top Women in Grocery honorees.

Despite being a last-minute replacement for an under the weather Brad Brookshire, chairman and CEO of the Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC), CFO Michael Arnett ably rose to the occasion in his presentation, “The Brookshire Way,” on the opening day of Progressive Grocer’s Grocery Impact event, running Nov. 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, in Orlando, Fla. 

Arnett, a relative newcomer to the grocery industry with only five and a half years under his belt, nonetheless displayed his effortless command of BGC’s history, dating from 1928, and its core values, which are grounded in the Christian faith of its leadership. “As a company, we don’t shy away from that,” he asserted. He also cited the company’s board of directors, including Janel Haugarth, Progressive Grocer’s 2014 Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer and a past Top Woman in Grocery honoree, as a guiding force, advising attendees to “have [their] own personal [boards] of directors” to help them make the right decisions.

[Read more: “How Harris Teeter Creates a Winning Company Culture”]

Those values are “Jump Over the Counter” Service Excellence (a reference to a company founder’s athletic enthusiasm); Do the Right Thing – the Right Way; Competitive Grit; Do Your Best Every Day; The Team Matters; and Results-Driven With a Future Focus. According to Arnett, Brookshire’s values have helped the company as it focuses on growth and investment, opening and remodeling stores under its various banners – Brookshire’s, Super 1, Fresh by Brookshire’s, Spring Market and Reasor’s, in a diverse range of markets across its footprint of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. In fact, the company’s remodels outperform respective banner stores by 10%, Arnett asserted. Brookshire also recently sold its pharmacies to Walgreens, enabling the grocer to offer superior pharmacy services and value to customers.

Community involvement is also important for BGC, which has forged strong relationships with vendors and neighborhoods to sponsor races such as the Fresh 15, in its hometown of Tyler, Texas, and the Heroes Run, in Bossier City, La. The company also offers a Care Fund for its partners (associates) in need, supports local food banks, endows scholarships, and has secured naming rights to the W.T. Brookshire Conference Center, which recently opened to attract events to Tyler.

Arnett wrapped up his presentation by offering advice to emerging leaders, telling them, among other things, to embrace new technology, remain resilient and flexible in the midst of change, keep customer service as top priority, gain cross-knowledge to develop their skill sets, and, perhaps most importantly, bring other people along with you by acting as a mentor to those just setting out in their careers.

Attendees’ last glimpse of BGC was its sillier side – a “Blues Brothers”-inspired performance for Halloween – just to show that you can still have plenty of fun while fulfilling your ultimate purpose of providing affordable, accessible food for your customers.

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