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Realignment of Southwest division underscores Kroger commitment to Texas market

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI – Kroger on Tuesday split its Southwest division into two new supermarket divisions, a Dallas division and a Houston division, to support significant investment in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston markets. 
 
Dana Zurcher has been promoted to serve as president of the company's new Dallas division. And Bill Breetz, who has been serving as president of the Southwest division since 2002, will continue to oversee operations in Texas and Louisiana for the remainder of the year, and serve as president of the new Houston division. 
 
Kroger previously outlined capital investment plans of approximately $700 million in Dallas-Fort Worth and $500 million in Houston over the next three years. 
 
"We see opportunities for growth in both Dallas and Houston thanks in large part to Bill's leadership the past 13 years," stated Rodney McMullen, Kroger chairman and CEO. "This move will bring resources closer to our store teams, customers and communities."
 
Kroger's new Dallas division includes 105 stores in the Dallas and Fort Worth markets and in the Shreveport and Alexandria, La. area. The new Houston division includes 109 stores in the greater Houston region, as well as stores in Lake Charles, Louisiana. 
 
"Dana's experience spans several retail divisions, and she understands nearly every aspect of our business," McMullen said. "She is an exceptional leader who is known for helping associates discover their full potential. We are excited to have Dana lead our team in Dallas."
 
Zurcher brings 30 years of leadership experience to her new role. She began her Kroger career in Indianapolis store management in 1985. She served in a number of leadership roles in the Central division, including store manager and district coordinator. In 2002, she was named a district manager in the company's Fry's division in Phoenix. In 2008, she was promoted to director of operations for the Ralphs division in Los Angeles, where she served until she was promoted to VP operations for Kroger's Mid-South division in 2011. She has served in her current role of VP operations Southwest division since 2013. 
 
 

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Can 1 great hire equal 3 good hires?

BY Dan Mack

The Idea: Kip Tindell, CEO and Chairman of The Container Store, founded the company in 1978 with $35k, and a set of brave ideals. This retailer of "empty boxes" was profitable on day one and has enjoyed a historical average compounded growth rate of 21%. Equally important, it's been named one of the Best Places to Work in the U.S. 15 years in a row, debuting at #1 the first year they applied in 2000. What has been their secret? They hire the best talent with amazingly high expectations.

In a recent interview, Tindell joked that the company’s mantra is guided by a simple principle that “no one’s over-qualified to work as a sales associate at the Container Store.” In fact, in order to work at the store, potential employees must go through a far more rigorous interview process, while being evaluated against the Container Stores main belief: hire one person that’s worth three

The Container Store story is not a sexy business, nor is it the type of industry that seems ripe to steal tomorrow’s business school leaders. The organization makes containers and organizers for homes, offices or anyone looking to store things.  But the company is vibrant, attracts great employees, pays higher than most service industries and is worth dissecting.   

The organization pays their employees 50%-100% more than the average retailer and prides themselves on their team’s productivity, while only having a 10% annual turnover. How do they do all of this?

  1. Find the most educated employees through a 6-8 step interview process.
  2. Pay them well, very well.
  3. Train and development them like they are your next generation of leaders

By creating a creating a culture of excitement and rewarding valuable team members, a retail store has become a top tier sales organization. Their principles are universal, and it works.

Finding the right talent is expensive but crucial — it allows people to live and love their work which creates a culture of excellence.  Hiring game breaking talent and paying wages commensurate with their skills drives retention and allows the next generation of leadership to commit to the cause.

When those three principles are married, you have the formula for a very special culture.  The Container Store is one such culture.


For more insights on Dan Mack and the Elevation Forum go to mackelevationforum.com.  To learn about his first book Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence visit darkhorsebook.com.

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MinuteClinic telehealth pilot well received by patients

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — New data from the CVS Health Research Institute demonstrates high levels of patient satisfaction with the quality of telehealth care delivered at MinuteClinic retail medical clinics. 
 
“In the United States today, approximately a quarter of patients do not have a primary care provider or have incomplete access to one,” CVS Health’s Chief Scientific Officer William Shrank said. “This lack of access, combined with an increased demand for care resulting from expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and the challenge of finding convenient care for patients balancing work and personal responsibilities, necessitate exploration of alternative, high quality care options such as telehealth in the MinuteClinic setting.”
 
The study evaluated de-identified responses from more than 1,700 patients who participated in the MinuteClinic telehealth pilot. Patients had services at a CVS MinuteClinic location provided by a remote clinician using telehealth technology. Patients were asked if they had health insurance and a primary care provider and rated their satisfaction with a number of measures associated with their telehealth visit, including quality of care and convenience. 
 
Patients were also asked to rank their experience of a telehealth visit as compared to that of a traditional visit, when the patient and a health care provider are face-to-face, in the same room. Overall, 95% of patients were highly satisfied with the quality of care they received, the ease with which telehealth technology was integrated into the visit and the timeliness and convenience of their care. In addition, one-third of patients indicated that they preferred a telehealth visit to a visit with a clinician in the same room — in particular those patients without health insurance — and nearly all found telehealth to be just as good as or better than a traditional visit.
 
“MinuteClinic has long been focused on providing accessible, high quality, affordable health care that is complementary and supportive of the primary care provider,” said Andrew Sussman, president, CVS/minuteclinic, and EVP/associate chief medical officer, CVS Health. “Telehealth provides us with an opportunity to offer convenient, high quality care to an extended group of patients and this data confirms that patients are highly satisfied with this new type of health care provider visit.”
 
Satisfaction with quality of care and other factors were measured among patients participating in a pilot program of telehealth care rolled out at MinuteClinic locations in California and Texas in 2014, and the findings were published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine

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