Hammons Field – 19 June 2013
There is nothing I enjoy more than championing potential. Perhaps that’s why I get such a kick out of emceeing Price Cutter’s “Best Bagger” competitions. It’s refreshing to see a large-scale grocery operation like Pyramid Foods investing time and money into the employee who is often taken for granted: The grocery bagger.
From my tribute to the bagger, “The Face of the Grocery Business”:
The bagger is on the front-line, interacting with customers and handling the food they’ll feed their family. The bagger is the final impression of the company before the shopper leaves the store. And most of us assume this is a simple entry-level position?
Throughout the Spring, top baggers from Price Cutter, Smitty’s, Ramey and Summer Fresh Supermarkets across the state competed in regional bagging competitions, vying for a spot in the Missouri Grocers Association Best Bagger State Competition August 17th at Branson Landing – (Highlights from our Joplin event). On Wednesday, June 19th, the top-6 gathered at Hammons Field before the Springfield Cardinals game for one final showdown – one final bag-off – to determine who would represent Pyramid Foods at State.
Congratulations to the top-6, from left to right in the orange shirts: Bobby Walker from Ramey in New Madrid, Max Green from Smitty’s in Lebanon, Devin Green from Summer Fresh in El Dorado Springs, Eric Johnson from Price Cutter on West Republic in Springfield, Tabatha Richmond from Price Cutter in Neosho, and Ryan Gould from Price Cutter on Battlefield in Springfield. A huge thanks to the judges wearing blue: Director of central hiring – Brittany Farmer, Ciara Hutchison from labor and operations, and HR associate Ryan Davis.
After two lightening quick rounds, the baggers were judged on speed, proper bag building technique, distribution of weight between bags, then style, attitude and appearance…and the scores were tight. In the end, Max Green finished as the runner-up, while Eric Johnson captured top honors and threw out the first pitch before the game. Both will compete at the State competition at Branson Landing this August. With a win there, they’ll score $750 and fly to Las Vegas to compete on the national level. The best bagger in the nation will win $10,000 and appear on the Late Show with David Letterman.
While it’s fun and exciting to watch these baggers compete, it’s even more entertaining – and surprising this day in age – to witness a “corporate culture” done right. To see those who work in the corporate office, after a long day at work, invest their time, working closely with these young competitors, actively encouraging and coaching higher scores…you can’t help but feel the camaraderie; you can’t help but witness how these
employees teammates are valued; you can’t help but realize that these competitions nurture internal relationships that help grow businesses from within.
Kudos to the Missouri Grocers Association and companies like Pyramid Foods and Price Cutter for creating opportunity for the front-line; through an annual “Best Bagger” competition…but most importantly, through developing the character of your business’ future.