The challenge of operating 66 convenience stores through a global pandemic is no small feat, but Parker’s is making it happen thanks to a great team. They’ve also helped give back to the community by donating over 7,000 masks and 100 pizzas to healthcare facilities.
Brandon Hofmann began working at Parker’s when he was 16 and worked his way up to his current position of Vice President. We talked with him last week.
What have you learned about yourself as a business leader during this time?I learned that we have an incredible team at Parker’s. We learned how nimble we are in tough situations and how quickly we adapt as an organization. At the beginning, it was a very similar experience that we experience during a hurricane evacuation. There was a lot of panic buying and we were able to deploy support teams to the frontlines to help out in the stores. We put together teams for each district to support simple tasks like emptying the trash, sweeping the floors, cleaning the counters and stocking the coolers. The teams that were deployed were category managers, Inventory Teams, Merchandisers, and other corporate support staff. Our frontline store employees worked day and night to ensure products and services were available to our customers.
During tough times we take a lot of pride in how our entire team pulls together.
Do you see your company being able to continue as is or will you continue to make changes going forward?There will always be changes; our industry is an industry of constant change. We pride ourselves on being very flexible when it comes to change.
We were able to put a lot of processes in place that will be long term solutions. We now have a full pandemic plan in place with five phases of execution. This will of course change over time as well.
What challenges have you faced? What triumphs have you had?Our biggest concern was the safety of our employees and customers. We had a lot of employees that were very concerned about their safety.
We installed Plexiglas shields in every location. We provided masks and gloves to every single employee. We implemented an hourly sanitation schedule for the top touch points throughout the store. We were able to source hand sanitizer for employee and customer use in all locations. Our goal was to make constant improvements to help them feel safe.
Our employees said that they also needed to work to support their families. While we did have hours of operations changes, we did not furlough any employees, but instead we incentivized our hour employees with a $2.50 hourly bump and salaried employees were paid 100% of their bonus for March and April.
What lessons did you learn during this time that you'll carry over moving forward?There are a lot of lessons that we learned during this time, but the most important thing we learned is that we are truly a team. During the tough times we really come together as an organization. I am extremely proud to be a part of an organization that gets stronger when times get tough. Our frontline employees are the real heroes.