The Gold Standard for Success
In 2001 when Produce Manager Clyde Jenkins first started, Labatt’s produce business was bringing in around five million a year with just three employees. Looking to really grow the business, Blair Jr. and Al tasked Clyde with building a company within a company and 13 years later Clyde has done just that. Today, the Produce department has grown to 34 employees and 50 million in business.
If you ask Clyde what has been the key to the Produce department’s success all these years, you’ll hear something pretty familiar—it’s about providing the best in people, products and service.
Clyde and his team focus on exceeding customer expectations by working to provide products that meet the highest standards of quality and freshness. But according to Clyde, the key to it all starts with customer service.
And in order to provide great service, you have to have a great team. He says about the team he has built, “We are all very competitive and passionate about produce. We work well together and everything we do is team effort.”
The team’s efforts often center on the various ways they can be better and grow the business. One strategy Clyde has employed focuses on targeting Labatt customers who buy plenty of groceries, but a low amount of produce. “We query out which customers have the most sales of groceries to the least amount of produce, and we create hit lists to focus on those customers,” comments Clyde.
Additionally, the Produce department prides itself on many Value-Added services they offer Labatt customers. In fact with each bid that is submitted, they attach a sheet highlighting the additional Value-Added services offered such as help with setting menus and diagrams for properly storing produce.
Recently Labatt Produce earned the Gold Standard by Blue Book Services, an agency which provides those in the produce industry with credit and marketing information. “We’re considered the Gold Standard of produce. When you look in the Blue Book, you’ll see we have the highest rating of anybody. And we’re one of only two broadline distributors who have earned the Gold Standard,” says Clyde.
With business growing year after year since he started, Clyde has high hopes for Produce’s future. “It would be nice in another ten years to be doing 100 million and have about 60 employees. Blair has expanded our warehouse four times already and the last time he joked that the next time we would have to build a whole new separate warehouse just for Produce. I always joke and say that’s what we’re working for,” says Clyde.