DAVE’S FRESH MARKETPLACE is Rhode Island’s largest locally owned and operated supermarket since 1969, with 10 locations throughout the state. Store leadership is instrumental to its success – quality and service are paramount to positive in- store experiences.
“Nothing short of amazing,” Eileen Doyle says, “the resiliency, determination, and compassion these women demonstrate daily, but especially last year during the pandemic, was incredible.” Eileen is the Customer Service Supervisor at Dave’s Fresh Marketplace, and it is her team of Customer Service Managers that are this year’s Leading Ladies.
Grocery stores are the fabric of our communities: They lend themselves to community meeting places, providing friendly faces and human interaction. It’s a place to see your friend, a neighbor, or a coworker. Pre-COVID, even a place to get a hot cup of coffee. Most customers never visit customer service desks, but the far-reaching effects of that office permeates the entire store, really the entire company. Customer service is a way of life, woven into the Dave’s culture – and these leading ladies represent the backbones of each location.
The Dave’s Customer Service Team have tremendous skills, industry knowledge, and perseverance. As the heartbeat of the stores, these women manage one of the largest departments within each location: acting as receptionists, problem solvers, research analysts, tactical wizards, office moms, IT support, administrative assistants, and chief resolution moderators – all before 10am. With their strong consistent leadership, Dave’s stores are held in high regard with exceptional consumer confidence levels.
In ordinary times, these leading ladies run tight schedules with nuanced, and creative, resolutions for both customer and employee concerns. The COVID pandemic of 2020 created a whole new set of demands on them and the entire store network. Unprecedented levels of anxiety, across all departments, became commonplace. Each day, for many, many weeks, very complicated situations occurred that required strong, capable leadership. These ladies singularly and collectively kept stores open and running smoothly. Without cashiers, a grocery store cannot operate. Without these ladies, their stores would become a bit frayed at the edges.
Countless hours were dedicated to reassuring teams and customers alike. As information emerged, these ladies were quick to adapt to changes, and lead the collective charge on enforcing safety initiatives: Dave’s Fresh Marketplace was one of the first retailers in the state to install Plexiglass shields, restricting capacities and supporting social distancing measures.
Cranston Customer Service Manager Donna Messier routinely posts messages to her team via Facebook – acknowledging her team’s efforts during holidays or if there was long day of struggles. “These kids are my second family – I want them to learn from me and move on in their lives knowing more than when they started,” Donna says. “It is rewarding to be able to see them grow and flourish as they enter into their careers.”
Lisa Newton, Quonset Customer Service Manager (not pictured), has similar feelings towards her team. “I started with this company over 20 years ago – the opportunities, the skills, the strength I have today, I want to share with my team. I want them to work together as one, and provide kindness and compassion – especially when so many [customers] were soanxious,”Lisasays.“Justbekind.”
Says Customer Service Manager in Smithfield Jen Cloutier when discussing 2020, “Every day was a new day. Our employees count on us to set that tone. The customers rely on us to smile, even behind the masks, and help them get what they need. We are lucky – our young people want to work, and are always trying to help. Our managers support us and the work we do. We managed – together.”
Speaking with each of these ladies gives a resounding sense of pride and support for one another. Next time you visit, take a moment and thank these ladies: They never stop. And the team at Dave’s is so proud of the work they do.