OLD HICKORY, Tenn. -- Scott Means, the owner of S&C Foods here, said he isn't afraid to take advice.
"With the old retail counselor system, the counselor had some responsibility but not a whole lot of control. But because the RAE's bonus is tied to my success, he has an incentive to succeed, so he has a lot of control, and that makes me feel very confident he will do everything he can, and Fleming will do everything it can, to make me more successful."
Means' RAE until early August was Jimmy Nichols. "But he did such a good job for us that he was promoted to the position of division president in Miami, and we haven't been assigned a new RAE yet," Means said.
During the two years Nichols worked with S&C, profitability went up "by 50% or more," Means said, "and while part of that is due to our larger store base, part is due to the help Jimmy gave us."
Nichols began working with S&C right after it acquired four units from H.G. Hill Stores, Nashville, Tenn., which boosted its volume to $50 million. "Going from three stores to seven was a real struggle for us because not only did we take on the stores themselves but we also had to understand the mentality and culture of those new employees and bring them around to our way of doing things. Jimmy helped us with that process.
Nichols was getting copies of everything that crossed Means' desk, Means said. "He knew how much we were making or losing, where the payroll was too high, where we were spending too much for supplies. Basically he knew all that I knew, which is the only way a program like this can work."
Before Nichols began working with S&C, "we were still doing many things the mom-and-pop way," Means said. "But I wanted to take the next step and run the company more like a big business, with all the right reporting tools and ways of gathering and disseminating information in a better manner, and that's where Jimmy came in."