Happy Anniversary!

The retail industry has embraced the only publication dedicated to its executive management. And to commemorate this milestone, I thought it would be interesting to revisit some of the more notable thoughts that leading retailers shared with us during the past three years.

July/August 2011 Premiere Issue
Scott Schnuck, then CEO of Schnuck Markets, "The more our industry can work together to find solutions...the better we're going to perform and satisfy the needs of our customers."

September/October 2011
Sonja Hubbard, chief executive of E-Z Mart Stores, "If you think the world is coming to an end, that's how you are going to operate. You won't take risks. You're only worrying about hunkering down. I don't think you can grow that way."

May/June 2012
Ric Jurgens, then chairman and CEO of Hy-Vee, "I'll take a merchant any day over a genius. But if you have a genius that's a merchant–and we have a lot of them in our company–get out of the way."

July/August 2012
J.K. Symancyk, then COO of Meijer, "I don't know how in the world anyone can really be collaborative unless they really are open with each other around what problems they're trying to solve, what they're really going to accomplish, and that has enabled us to really ground our efforts with the shopper in mind as opposed to getting lost in some of the tactical day-to- day constraints that come with that."

January/February 2013
David Dillon, chairman and CEO, Kroger. In response to the question: How do you motivate your workers, Mr. Dillon replied, "Everyone wants to matter, to be in a position to contribute to be heard. That is why inclusion is one of Kroger's core values."

John Mackey, co-CEO, Whole Foods Market. In response to the question: How often do you get out into the stores as a consumer as well as in a more official capacity, Mackey replied, "I tour all of our stores when I travel. I probably go on four or five store tours per year, where I'll take a region, and I might see 10 stores on that tour. I probably get into 80 stores a year."

Richard Dreiling, CEO, Dollar General. Responding to the question: What do you see as the greatest obstacle to success? How will you overcome it? He said, "Perhaps our greatest obstacle to success is to avoid complacency...The competition is getting better. So are we. We need to continually listen to the customer and serve their needs."

March/April 2013
Mark Wagner, president of operations and community management, Walgreen Co., "Three years from now, we will be truly a global company...I think there will be nothing like us in the world... When it comes to our niche in drug store retailing, no one will be better than us."

July/August 2013
Rich Niemann, Jr., president and CEO, Niemann Foods, "Our associates are creating the evolution of the brand. The ideas come from within, from our associates; they come from everywhere. If you can create an environment that fosters the notion of trying things and not being afraid to fail, that's when it all comes together."

January/February 2014
Doug Sanders, CEO, Sprouts Farmers Market. When asked: How would describe the culture at Sprouts, he said, "From top to bottom, our commitment to engaging customer service permeates throughout the entire organization. I'm also proud to say that we promoted more than 3,000 team members in 2013 – that's about 20% of our workforce."

Laura Sen, president and CEO, BJ's Wholesale Club, "For me, there can be no business priority that comes before our need for –values-driven behavior. We need world-class people, both in talent and in character. And we will not win without insisting on both"

May/June 2014
Kurt Schertle, COO, Weis Markets, "It is our goal to be on-trend, and more on-trend than our competitors, because we can move quickly. We are perceived to be the most relevant in the markets we serve, not just by being local and offering the products the consumer wants, but being faster...than our less nimble, larger competitors."

Notice the common thread running through these thoughts–People, collaboration, customer satisfaction, and measured risk taking.

It will be very interesting to see what the next three years bring.

– Harry Stagnito,

President and CEO, Stagnito Media