Pick Your Pepper: Randalls store director Steve Budd keeps things fresh and colorful at the Woodlake Square store in Westchase District.
In a volatile grocery industry, Randalls has stood the test of time, remaining a vital retailer and an integral part of the Westchase District community. Founded in 1966 in Houston, the company has been headquartered in Westchase District since 1989 at 3663 Briarpark. The grocer has 30 Houston-area stores, including one in Woodlake Square Shopping Center, 9660 Westheimer. This year, the supermarket chain has one eye looking back as it celebrates 50 years in the business and the other looking forward to the next big industry trends.
Being a community’s favorite neighborhood store for generations is no easy feat said Dawne Proffitt, Randalls community relations manager. “Robert Onstead, one of our founders, used to say, ‘We’re all pretty much selling the same can of green beans. So what’s going to make the customer cross the ditch to buy yours?’”
Proffitt said she sees Randalls’ competitive differentiators as the friendliness of the staff, the freshness of produce and the cleanliness of the stores. “Our employees aren’t just going to tell you what aisle a specific product is on, they’re going to take you to that item personally. That’s how each of our team members is trained.”
Steve Budd, store director of the 60,000 square-foot Woodlake Square store, is a 35-year employee with Randalls who oversees about 140 employees. Over the course of an interview, it became apparent that his favorite phrase is “You can’t beat that!” and is something he means sincerely. “All employees receive six hours of initial orientation as well as ongoing service huddles on the job,” he said. “I receive daily reports on customer feedback. If we’re not getting regular compliments from our customers, then I know something is up that I have to address.”
A model example
Although many stores operate under the Flagship Randalls brand, Westchase District customers benefit from their store literally being the flagship store for the company. Budd said because the store is closest to the corporate offices, the Woodlake Square location is often used for training senior management from other stores about seasonal displays or other promotions. “Our store is held up as the model for how all other stores should look, so our appearance always has to be top-notch.”
Some of the latest features that have been rolled out to customers are the Just for You smartphone app which serves up digital coupons and personalized sales to users. “We’re expanding our organic and natural foods as well as our beer and wine offerings and our grab and go meals,” Budd said. “I would expect to see some sort of online/home delivery service roll out in the near future.”
So is there anything that makes a Westchase District Randalls shopper different from other Houstonians? “One thing I’ve noticed over the years in general about customers in Westchase District is that they love to spoil their pets,” he said. “I mean, they take better care of them than some of their family members! And we’re happy to serve them with dozens of varieties of pet foods and supplies…at competitive prices. You can’t beat that!”