West Liberty’s Dollar General is getting its act together, at least according to new Manager Alex Buchheit.
“I want people to know that it’s going to change,” he says flatly, “In a week or two this store is going to be looking like it should.”
The Cedar Rapids man is in the process of overhauling the store, which has become a grand griping point to many in the community.
“Everyone always has a horror story about what the store was like or is like,” he says. “All these different reasons why they don’t like to go or refuse to go anymore.”
“But things are changing here and it’s going to be great for this community,” he adds, with a four pillar system and a plan to rehab what’s ailing the store.
Buchheit, who just began with Dollar General last November in Wilton, has made a career of getting businesses and organizations back on track.
For the past several weeks he’s worked particularly hard with his staff of eight employees, including scheduling it so there’s always two at a time.
It’s been difficult, some have left the store and others have been let go. Manager Buchheit makes it no secret that he expects a lot from his employees.
Staff is and will be undergoing more rigorous training in order to be up to Dollar General’s standards, including that of customer service.
“I believe that Dollar General’s policy of serving the customer and providing them an experience when they come through that door is possible,” says Buchheit.
So how about those long lines that always seem to appear as soon as you’re ready check out of the store?
Well, that’s where scheduling employees a bit more plentifully comes into play, as well as adhering to an old Dollar General policy.
Specifically, a policy that states if a line of four-or-more costumers develops, a second cashier needs to open up a station.
In a larger town like Muscatine or Iowa City the state of a store probably doesn’t matter as much; after all, alternatives are a short drive away.
But that’s a different story in West Liberty for residents interested in one stop shopping.
The community has a grocery store in Jeff’s Market, a hardware store in Fred’s Feed, two gas stations, banks, salons, the movie theater and more.
However, the Dollar General provides that middle ground for assorted goods, like paper plates, earphones and the all-important Red Box right up front.
Oddly enough, fellow business Fred’s Feed actually provides some inspiration to the new manager of Dollar General.
“I’ve never been to a store like Fred’s before,” he says. “They do an excellent job of treating you well, they’re just calm and collective about trying to help in any way possible.”
“That’s the same sort of experience that I want to bring over to Dollar General,” he adds. “So we’re focusing on that with the employees.”
However, Buchheit is also instituting a four pillar plan. The first pillar, make sure the shelves are always stocked.
Before he arrived there could be rows of empty shelves, or tons of product in the back of the store that needed to be put out.
Pillar two, make the store and its presentation clutter free, including all the stuff clogging the entrance. Buchheit is not a fan of the stuff sitting between the doors and registers.
Pillar three, be friendly (as discussed above) and pillar four, be clean.
These are things that sound obvious, but need consistent implementation if West Liberty’s Dollar General is ever going to reclaim its good name.
It’s hard for the manager to say when he’ll meet his own goals, he’s the first to admit that there’s no such thing as a perfect store, just one striving for excellence.
But if the store was a two out of ten when he first arrived several months ago, he wants it to be at least a seven or eight by the end of February.
“The great thing about this community is that in my first three weeks people would tell me ‘Man, this store looks great,’” says Manager Buchheit. “And I’m thankful for that.”
“But I don’t want to see it go to my head or the head’s of the staff,” he adds. “Everyone takes a part of this, we’re all part of a team.”
So, if you’ve sworn off the Dollar General give it another go this March. Everyone needs a second chance, right?
The buck starts hereJacob Lane · Wednesday, March 1, 2017