Brookshire Grocery Company, known for its commitment to excellent customer service, was established in 1938. The company began with one store in downtown Tyler, Texas under the name Brookshire Brothers. Soon after, the company changed its name to Brookshire Grocery Company and expanded to four stores in Tyler and Longview, Texas, which included the first air-conditioned store in East Texas (brookshires.com). Over the years, the Brookshire Grocery
Company chain has grown to more than 150 stores throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and, most recently, Mississippi.
The firm began to open “warehouse-style stores under the trade name Super 1 Foods and 1 ’superstore’ under the trade name Brookshire’s Supercenter” in the 1980’s offering people other ways to save money (tsha.utexas.edu). Brookshire Grocery Company is also currently operating grocery store
in Plano, Texas under the name Ole Foods to try to appeal to the Hispanic population in the community. The company’s manufacturing facilities include a bakery plant, dairy plant, ice cream
plant, ice plant and water plant near Tyler, Texas (Brookshire Briefs).
Brookshire’s offers a variety of specialty departments in many of its stores. Among these are bakeries, pharmacies delicatessens, floral departments, in-store film processing departments, and video rentals (tsha.utexas.edu). “In 1977, Brookshire’s established the World of Wildlife and Country Store Museum in the corporate complex” featuring activities for children (tsha.utexas.edu).
Due to recent acquisitions, employment in the company has exceeded 12,000 employees (Brookshire Briefs). Brookshire’s has placed a heavy emphasis on replacing, expanding, and modernizing stores where needed in order to meet customer demands and better serve them. The firm has recently “purchased and opened 17 former Winn-Dixie stores in North-central, Texas and four former Albertsons stores in the Jackson, Mississippi area” (Tribune Business News).
Brookshire Grocery Company also introduced a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar frozen dessert called LeCarb in 2001 proving the firm to contribute to creativity and innovation as well as providing options to health-conscious consumers. By May of 2002, the product was distributed nationwide as the first product available of its kind (Tribune Business News).
The grocery market is highly competitive. Brookshire’s has found that superior customer service is the key to success. Consumers who are familiar with the Brookshire’s personnel know that they will be greeted with a friendly smile and helpful attitude. Employee meetings and up-beat newsletters from the corporate office are excellent ways of reminding the employees of the significance of making customer satisfaction the most important part of their jobs. All levels of management understand the importance of reminding employees that if they do not provide the service that customers expect from the company, the customers will take their business elsewhere.
Brookshire Grocery Company also understands the link between employee satisfaction with the satisfaction of consumers. The company does not refer to its personnel as its employees, but proudly announcing that everyone is a partner in the company. Management is encouraged by the company to remind the employees that they are appreciated when they go the extra mile. Brookshire’s has recognition programs designed specifically for employees including the Aggressive Hospitality award program. This program rewards employees for providing legendary customer service and entitles them to prizes, money and/or time off with pay. The employees even receive a shirt that distinguishes them as the winner of the awards. There is also an annual barbeque paid for by the company in which every employee in the store is invited to join. All of these things give everyone employed by the company a sense of belonging that makes them better employees. Brookshire’s recognizes that if it has a happy crew, employees will provide better productivity and customer satisfaction.
The company’s benefits are spectacular. Employees are offered Health, Dental, Vision, Sickness and Accident, Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment and Prescription insurance. Brookshire’s has Partner Assistance Services that provide reimbursement for employees who may need counseling for psychological problems such as drug or alcohol abuse, undue stress and family problems. The Brookshire’s University has 47 courses in its continuing education curriculum available to employees in which employees can receive accreditation in the company’s university programs. College students can apply for assistance through the Brookshire’s Scholarship Program after one year of service to assist them with books and tuition. The company also provides full-time as well as part-time employees with a Christmas bonus which is highly unusual of many grocery companies (Brookshire Briefs).
Brookshire’s is very open to employee feedback. The company listens to employee concerns and by providing an internal company website which allows employees to e-mail the human resources department other partners in the company with questions or comments.
Brookshire Grocery company offers an ESOP (Employee Stock Option Program) and 401k plan which matches one-half of the first 4 percent contributed by partners. The company sometimes makes additional contributions whenever possible.
The downside to working for Brookshire’s is that it is a small chain. The company is only in four states, therefore if a partner moves out of these states, the option to transfer within the company is not available. Technology is also not as advanced as other competitors. Many companies, such as Wal-Mart and Rite-Aid, have better developed scanners and auto-replenishment systems whereas Brookshire’s is currently requiring employees to manually type in some prices and use Telxon systems for reordering.
Brookshire’s has shown excellent growth and stability in a very competitive world. Many employees have proven to be an asset to the company because of their length of service and their dedication to the company’s legendary customer service strategy. Perhaps, in time, the Brookshire Grocery Company will grow large enough to reach consumers from coast-to-coast.
Brookshire Briefs. Brookshire Grocery Company Profile. Volume 44
number 1. January/February 2003.
Brookshire’s Company History. Online. 22 January 2003. http://www.brookshires.com.
Hinton, Anne Brookshire. “The Handbook of Texas Online”. Online. 22 January 2003. http://www.tsha.utexas.edu.
Junek, Greg. Top Companies in Tyler, Texas, Able to Grow in 2002. Tribune Business News. 13 January 2003.