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Successful Retailers September 2008

Successful Retailers September 2008


Meet our Independent Retailers of the Quarter

Meet Joe Eid (38) and Catherine Eid (33) who run a Foodworks store in QLD.

Time in Current Supermarket

3 ½ years

What makes Joe & Catherine great?

Joe and Catherine have achieved exceptional results in their business in a very short time. They have a strong focus on customer service, presentation and pricing which has generated a fantastic return on their investment.

Joe & Catherine have developed a solid reputation in the community for constantly looking for ways to improve and grow their business by serving their customers better.

They are constantly taking action and implementing changes in the store and the changes they have made are done in a cost-effective way.

What specific results have they obtained?

  • Sales increased by more than 70%
  • Gross Profit in dollar terms increased by more than 60% (GP percentage decreased by 2%).
  • Customer count increased by more than 40%
  • Basket size increased by more than 25%

What changes did they make in the store to achieve these results?

“It’s not the most glamorous store and doesn’t have the newest equipment … we worked with what we had and cleaned it up … we present it really well, everything is priced pointed and gives the customer impact of being clean and well presented.”

Here’s the list of the 7 improvements we made to our store:

  • Replaced the floor-coverings
  • Updated the security system
  • Installed air-conditioning
  • Implemented systems for working on presentation of the store on an ongoing basis.
  • Implemented systems to work on pricing on an ongoing basisImplemented systems for customer service in the store on an ongoing basis. (Including mystery shoppers in conjunction with Foodworks).
  • Utilized Foodworks promotional program including weekly catalogues to 2,000 local households.

“Once we did the necessary things [floor, security system and air-conditioning] we worked on all the other things that didn’t cost us money. A lot of times the fundamentals of operating a business are overlooked – like good customer service.”

Why did Catherine and Joe choose to buy a supermarket?


“I think the main reason we bought a supermarket is that we wanted to get ahead. We wanted the flexibility to work around raising our kids and creating financial security for the future.”

“I didn’t want to have to leave the girls to work somewhere else and be told by them to ‘be here this day and time’. It’s something that Joe can mainly focus on and I can come in and help him, something we can do as a team.”


“We bought our supermarket because we wanted flexibility and future financial security. Starting a family and working for someone else for the rest of your life is not going to get you anywhere.”

“I always worked the hours … put in so much hard work and so much effort into other people’s businesses … I knew we could make more money in our own business.”

What’s their background?

Joe has always been involved in retail – working in and managing convenience stores and service stations. Catherine worked in management in women’s fashion retail for twelve years prior to having their first daughter.

Joe and Catherine had never owned a business individually or as a couple before buying the supermarket.

How do they describe themselves?

“Young, passionate and enthusiastic.”

What process did they use to buy their supermarket?

  • Joe & Catherine first formulated a clear idea of what they wanted from a business with regard to risk, financial reward and security.
  • They made the decision to buy a supermarket on the basis that a supermarket is relatively easy to run and “people have to eat” so there would always be a consistent customer base.
  • They looked at several supermarket businesses, visited each site and carefully analyzed the figures.
  • They looked carefully at the presentation, the way it was being run and the potential to improve those things.
  • They researched their competition and the local area.
  • They did not choose the store that was closest to where they lived but rather bought the store that best fitted their needs with regard to risk, financial reward, potential and security.

Who and where are their nearest competitors?

Many people are afraid of competitors, but not Joe & Catherine. They have a Coles and Woolworths located in a shopping centre on the same street just 500 metres away. They have two other independent supermarkets and a 7 Eleven within a 3 km radius.

What have your biggest challenges been and how did you overcome them?

“We have had two major challenges- staff and customer perceptions.”

(1) Staff

“Our number one challenge was reliable staff. We realized that if you want to grow your business you need to employ mature people and we have been doing that now for eight months.”

“With mature people you get a conversation, you don’t get that blank look, and they have a drive to work and they interact well with customers.”

“We also learnt the importance of training and now we have a two and a half hour induction for new employees with online assessment to get them up to speed quickly.”

(2) Customer Perception

“Our second major challenge was changing the perception of our customers. We have worked on marketing and displays so that our customers view us more as a ‘top-up store’ rather than an expensive ‘corner store’ … and it will always be ongoing.”

What scanning reports do you use most in your business?

“We use customer count and basket size weekly to measure our progress. We manage theft by looking at mark-down and refund reports as well as stock-on-hand reports. We also use weekly, monthly and yearly department sales reports to continually benchmark how we are going.”

What does the future hold?

“Our aim is to have 3 stores in the next 10 years.”

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