Renata: “from the perspective of 15 years I can say without any doubt: this is my place!”
Hello Renata! You have been working with us for 15 years now. How did it all begin?
As you have already mentioned, I started working in “Grot” fifteen years ago. At the beginning, I was a sales assistant in the store in Ketlinga street. But after just two months, which was a huge surprise for me and an even greater challenge, I became the manager of this store.
Did you have any retailexperience?
Although I do have a commercial education degree, I had no experience at that time. I learned everything when I was working in the store in Ketlinga street.
How do you recollect those times?
I spent four wonderful years there. Back then it was the time when the store was constantly developing. The turnover was increasing every year. We had a group of loyal and friendly customers, and thanks to that, the atmosphere in the store was very family-like.
What happened next?
In 2004, due to problems in one of the stores in Milionowa street, the company made the decision to change it into an own-brand store. Because I live nearby, I was the first one to suggest that I would be in charge of the store. My proposal was accepted and I was the manager of that store for eight years.
And what happened after that?
During those 8 years several hypermarkets opened in the neighbourhood, which completely wiped out thesmaller shops and markets. And the company helped me then. They didn’t abandon me. On the contrary! Understanding the situation and appreciating my work and dedication, I was offered the chance to take over another store, this time on a franchise basis.
I was once again in charge of the store in Ketlinga street. Coming back was very emotional. And it was the customers who were the best – they remembered me after all those years and welcomed me back with open arms. After some time, I also took over the store in Zakładowa street.
In your opinion, what do you need to have to open a franchise store?
You just need to really want to do it. As they say, even an elephant can be taught to dance. You need to understand and like it. I love having contact with people. I couldn’t stand sitting behind a desk, that’s not for me. Even as a manager, I often do my paper work back at home just to be able to stand behind the counter, talk to customers and sell.
These are the fundamentals. Properly selected staff is another very important thing. Responsible, good at establishing contacts with customers and having a smile on their faces – this is most important. Customers don’t like to be serviced by sulky sales assistants, who condescend to serve other people. A smile is what draws people together, not only at work but also in life generally.
Let’s talk about a normal day at your work? What does it look like?
My work starts in the morning and ends in the evening. My schedule is specific, because I have two to three hours free during the day. I come to the store in the morning and spend time with the staff. We arrange the counter, prepare the store for opening and begin a new day of work. At 11 am, when the second shift comes in, the shifts overlap and there are five employees in the store at that time. With a clear conscience I know that they cn cope with everything and I can leave. I come back to work at 2 pm at the latest. You can manage to organise everything when you have small children and when your children are already adults.
What is the most pleasant aspect of your job?
I think the contact with people. A lady came to the store some time ago and asked what she could prepare for a party of 12 people – not too expensive but elegant. I was able to provide some tips and guidance. I offered her my recipe for pork tenderloins. The customer trusted me and after the weekend she came back, completely satisfied, and said that her guests were delighted. Another time, a customer said that the service in the store in Zakładowa street was at the highest European level. And this is why we do our best to work well, which makes me and the entire staff proud. It is also extremely satisfying.
Financial satisfaction is also very important, which motivates me to work even harder.
What is the role of “Grot” in your business?
It’s very important. As I mentioned earlier, the store in Milionowa street was having problems and the company did not abandon me. They found a solution to that situation. Now, when I run my own stores, I know I can always count on the support of the coordinators who are involved in our matters. The company organises improvement training for employees. Business training in exclusive medical spas and hotels are organised for us – the franchisees. During the day we work trying to increase our skills and qualifications. In the evening we can relax in a spa and have some fun. Sometimes even until dawn.
Moreover, the company recognises our efforts and rewards good and efficient work by handing out vouchers for weekend getaways to a spa hotel – I personally received such a voucher and spent three wonderful days with my husband in the Lawendowe Termy hotel and medical spa in Uniejów.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Definitely! Mr Józef Grot. The owner of the company is not a person who distances himself from his employees and business partners. He is open to people, their problems and always provides help and support, if needed. I personally received such help in the past and I will always remember that, although it happened many years ago.
The employees, with whom I work, are another extremely important asset of the company. They have already helped me out of trouble many times. I would like to give you some examples here, but it would be so many taking into account the fact that we have been working together for 15 years.
Perhaps just one example?
It may sound silly, but is very important for me. Once I ordered 200 kilograms of of pig rump instead of 20 kilograms. The people working in the order processing department did not just accept such a quantity without question, but called me and asked if I really wanted to order 200 kilograms. What does that tell me? It tells me that the employees working at “Grot” are professionals, who are at the same time business partners and patrons.
Could you please summarise our interview in a few words?
There is not much more to say. We live to work. Most important is to gain satisfaction, sometimes greater sometimes smaller, from what we do. Everybody needs to find a place for themselves. I found it. From the perspective of 15 years I can say without any doubt: this is where I belong!