Archive for Thursday, July 23, 2009

Milestone moment

July 23, 2009

Friday’s opening of Wolf Creek Market place is a special event in the making of a new Basehor. Sometime ago it was said that if the grocery store fails, it will be the fault of the citizens of Basehor for not supporting it. I believe it is not the responsibility of the city or its citizens to make this business successful. Rather it will be successful if it is an attractive store, with quality merchandise, delivered at competitive prices with top quality customer service, and there is enough reserve capital to absorb the first and second year start up costs.

At least twice in the last century, Basehor has been on the verge of becoming a vibrant influential market center. City center fires and loss of transportation service killed those opportunities. “Dairy Days” got its name because, as early as 1921, Basehor was nicknamed the “Milk Town” in recognition of the multiple dairies and creameries. A city center fire and bank failures in the early 1930s were very nearly the Basehor death knell. Population declined by nearly 90 percent, bottoming at less than 125 people in 1947. Today’s governing body is committed that Basehor’s current resurrection will be permanent.

Wolf Creek Marketplace has started out wonderfully. The entire store plan-o-gram has been done very attractively with great flow and convenience. They have elected to go with wider aisles, the very latest trend in retail layouts. Product selection was super complete, particularly for first day of the “soft opening.” Prices appeared to be competitive. In the grocery business rotating loss leaders are the lifeblood of a market program – don’t compare one or two items against a competitor during a single period and conclude their prices are high or low. My wife, Carol, is a consummate shopper. After four trips and several hours in the store in their first five days, she tells me that their overall price structure is in line with their multilocation national competitors.

The Wolf Creek Marketplace customer service shows that partner and general manager Kevin Barclay is a knowledgeable grocery marketer and manager. All of the staff with whom both Carol and I have interfaced show that Kevin’s selection and training process was extremely well executed. They know their store and their products much better than would be expected on the first day or even the first month of a new store. Their friendliness and helpfulness is a pleasant experience.

Carol was told that Kevin has directed that his store will never make that annoying PA announcement, “This store will be closing in 10 minutes.” Rather their commitment is that any customer through the door before their closing time will be served. Bravo!

It is still not the responsibility of the Basehor public to make this store successful with their support. However, it is the responsibility of the citizens of this town to provide support where it’s earned. Kevin Barclay, Ed McIntosh and John Bell, the partners in Wolf Creek Marketplace, have taken giant first steps in earning that support.

— Jim Washington is Basehor City Council president

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