Ric’s Food Center Rockford store Director David Brickner can’t believe how fast two years have flown by at the store. He holds up the new Tell A Friend logo, caricature of store owner Andy Woodrick, who bought the business from his dad in 1997.
It seems like yesterday Ric’s Food Center opened for business, but on Monday, February 8, the store passed its second anniversary.
“It feels like two minutes, not two years,” said Store Director Dave Brickner.
He didn’t want the date to pass without thanking the customers that have become regulars at the family grocery. “The people have been very supportive,” he said, noting that he is often surprised at how far shoppers come to visit.
Many local residents have become regulars, but shoppers come from Belding, Ada and often beyond. “They’ll tell me they live in such and such place, but every time they come through here they have to stop in.”
Brickner believes winning customers comes from many things staff at Ric’s does.
“I don’t believe anything is a small thing,” he said of the company philosophy of customer service and making each shopping experience a pleasure. Periodic open houses with free product sampling are among ways the store thanks to their shoppers. Periodic super-specials, such as a meat sale held this Thursday, February 11 and running through Wednesday, February 17, are other examples. Still, it is the smallest things as well as big events that Brickner believes drive loyalty.
“People can do everything right, but if they don’t mean it, you can tell,” he said of his employees’ cheery attitudes. “I hear all the time how people appreciate our staff and they want to know how we do it,” he said. “If you want a friendly staff, hire friendly people.” He used as an example Carol in deli, who was the subject of a note praising her caring attitude.
Brickner also credits the store’s success with the feedback they receive and follow. “We can’t do the best job if we don’t know what people are thinking,” he said.
The store’s new campaign, Tell A Friend, debuted the first of the year. A caricature of owner Andy Woodrick is the star of the program, which encourages people to share their impressions of the store with others.
“The old adage is, if people are happy, they tell one person. If they aren’t happy, they tell ten. We want people to tell others if they like what they see here.”
Brickner said that whether a person is spending 15 cents or two hundred dollars, they are both a customer and he wants them happy.
“You don’t win a customer with a transaction and you don’t win them in a day. You have to win them every day, all day long. There is nothing small, nothing that doesn’t matter.”
Ric’s Food Center is located at 6767 Belding Road. It is one of five stores owned by Andy Woodrick, who purchased the business from his father, Richard, in 1997. The first store opened in Mt. Pleasant in 1977. The Rockford store employs about 60 people and opened its doors February 8, 2008. Store hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.