Convenience Central
Join our community
extra content

Triple run

This Muskoka triple-threat operator has grown its business by seeking a better way in everything they do. Read more


Building loyalty

By understanding the needs of its community, Le Repère Gourmand is building a strong local clientele Read more


CCentral Poll

Answer our poll for a chance to WIN a Regal Confections prize pack! Check back often for new questions and chances to win! Read more


C-gas all-stars: Local pride

Find out how ice cream and a focus on all things local put Enniskillen General Store on the map Read more


The healthy alternative

Healthy, alternative options thrive on SAIT’s Calgary campus Read more


C-gas all-stars: Digging deep roots

Find out how Crooked Creek Convenience brings convenience to its Riverside-Albert, NB community Read more


Build an all-star team with these 8 strategies

Staffing_YCMMay15_Lefebvre_5461Monica Cooper and her partner Alec Sneddon own A&M’s Variety in Coniston, ON. The two work full time in the store, alongside four part-time employees. For this couple, staff engagement isn’t easy, but they’ve found success by keeping these eight strategies in mind.

Strategy 1: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Treating staff members how you’d like to be treated is the name of the game at A&M’s Variety.

“I’ve found that in my 20 years of working in groups, staying positive and upbeat around other people can change someone’s sour mood into a positive mood,” she says, adding that it’s important to show respect by listening to opinions and involving employees in the decision-making process.

Strategy 2: Be part of the community.

A&M’s Variety is very involved and active in the community. “We spend long hours at our store and through the years we have developed a strong bond with our customers,” says Cooper.

They see their customers as family, and raise money for their local hockey association, participate in the yearly food drive at Christmas, and also donate to organizations within the community, such as the playground association.

Strategy 3: Look to your customers.

“When we hire someone, it’s always someone in the community. It’s always a customer that we have observed and gotten to know for a few months or even years,” says Cooper.

By building strong ties with customers, these retailers can become comfortable with potential employees before they even hire them.

Strategy 4: Ask for input.

A&M’s Variety has a successful Facebook page where they post information about deals, community news and alerts, and draws for items such as tickets to local sporting events.

Cooper manages the Facebook page, but she’s always turning to her employees for ideas. “We’re always asking our employees about what we should raffle next or what game can we play for a prize giveaway,” she says, adding that involving them in these decisions ensures they feel like part of the team.

Strategy 5: Be thankful.

To stay on top of industry trends and innovation, Cooper and Sneddon often head to Toronto to attend trade shows and to find products they can’t find in Coniston.

“Each time we come back from one of these trips, our staff is so excited and just can’t wait to see what we picked up. We usually bring a gift back for them from our trip as a way to say thank you for taking care of our store while we were gone,” says Cooper.

“We’re close to our staff but it’s also really important to leave that line of employee and employer.”

Strategy 6: Work in your own store.

Being present in your store on a daily basis ensures you have a handle on day-to-day operations and roles. “Work your store so you know what’s goes on and so you can get to know your staff. You should also get to know your customers because some day they may be an employee,” she says.

Strategy 7: Turn mistakes into lessons.

Employee training is essential, says Cooper. “Employees have to understand tobacco and lottery laws; they have to get that right because it comes down on the owners.”

A&M’s Variety employees are always being reminded about proper identification laws, but when mistakes are made, these retailers use those incidents as learning experiences to ensure employees know what went wrong and how to correct it in the future.

Strategy 8: Demonstrate positivity.

For Cooper and Sneddon, it all comes back to that simple golden rule: treat others how you’d like to be treated. “Don’t walk into your store with a sour look on your face and dictate. You won’t get results and you won’t keep employees,” says Cooper.

“We’re always smiling and saying positive things. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day at home, when you walk through your doors of your store you need to put a smile on your face.”

It’s important to be upbeat and positive around people because this behaviour is contagious, she says. “Just try it and you’ll see results!”


0323_Gray_CNUE 2014_Sessions

Are you ready for The Convenience U CARWACS Show?

5 Reasons why you can’t miss the Convenience U CARWACS Show. Read more

0016_Banman_YCM Sept 2014_CNUW Preview

Convenience U Calgary: 4 ways to maximize your show experience

Cora Schultz isn't afraid of change. Are you? Read more


What’s keeping you up at night?

Tell us and you could win $200 cash! Read more