Pin It
lmaug_120The Lansing community has been eagerly awaiting the opening of its own supermarket all summer.  The construction site has been turning heads for months.  Last week shopping carts were spotted through the front window, making the opening seem even more imminent.  Inside the building construction workers have entered the final stretch.  Most of the fixtures are installed or are being installed, after which the floor will be tiled and finishing touches applied in time for a September 14th opening.  Store Manager Don Taylert says that's when the real challenge will begin.

"It's going to be very busy," he says.  "A lot of Lansing people and people from the surrounding area are so excited to shop here.  We'll also have curiosity seekers who want to see what it looks like.  That's where we have to impress.  First impressions are lasting.  We're very excited.  All of us can't wait.  We want it open tomorrow."

lmaug_managersManagers met Monday morning in the break room. Clockwise from left Brian Downing, Shannon Canino, Bill Canino, Don Taylert, Jim Lauretti, Allan Bomzer, Matt Muraca

Taylert's key challenge has been to hire the right staff to create a market that is embedded into the Lansing community, serving the community specifically, and being responsive to customers.  He hired seven top manager, who among them have over 200 years of experience in the grocery business.

Jim Lauretti is Assistant Store Manager, Allan Bomzer is Produce & Bakery Manager, Matt Muraca is Deli & Food Service Manager, Bill Canino Meat Manager, Brian Downing Grocery Manager, Rachel Robillard Master Baker, April Robbins Customer Service & Front End Manager, and Shannon Canino Scan Coordinator.  They, in turn, have hired 47 part-time employees.  A three day orientation is being held for the staff this weekend.

"We'll explain our goals, what we're all about, and what we want to accomplish," Taylert says.  "With the experience that the department heads have we expect a certain overall store performance.  We're going to try to get across to people that we want to be friendly, with fresh products... we want it clean."

lmaug_cartsShopping carts are currently stored at the back of the market, stretching from the dairy shelves to the 'beer cave'.

Taylert wants customers to feel welcome and comfortable with his managers to the point where they will tell them what they would like to see in the store.  To accomplish that he says there will be a hands-on philosophy at the store.

"We want to have customers greeted with smiles," he says.  "That's going to be our goal, to meet and greet and hand out samples.  If kids are there or a mom wants a piece of an apple, Allan will cut a piece.  We'll have ongoing sampling.  We may not have sampling stations all the time, but you might want to try some roast beef, so we'll cut off a sample for you to try.  We'll have a personal touch.  Managers like myself will be bagging groceries and carrying them out to the car, and things like that."

lmaug_coolersLooking out from the 'beer cave' (left). Post-its have been placed on coolers to mark what products will be displayed (right).

lmaug_hallDon Taylert standing in front of the meat preparation room, across the hall from a walk-in meat cooler. Three other walk-in coolers line the hall for produce, baked goods, atc.

lmaug_MEATFornt and back -- the meat preparation area (right) is having its fixtures installed.

Part of preparing for the opening has been reaching out to local farmers and businesses, as well as to customers.  Bomzer has reached out to sellers at the Lansing Farmers Market for local produce.  Lansing Market had a booth at Lansing Harbor Festival, where Taylert had a chance to talk to people about local products the market will carry.  He says several products from Grisamore Farms will be featured, as well as pumpkins from a local grower.

"Julie Crowley, who owns the Ithaca Coffee Company (at the Triphammer Mall in the Village of Lansing) -- we're going to carry some of her coffee," Taylert says.  "Chuck Everhart -- we call him the Ice Man -- is a local provider of ice.  Chemung Spring Water is putting our Lansing Market logo on their bottles.  We are even using local trash haulers.  All of the construction people are local.  And we're trying to hire as many local people as we can.  We're really gung-ho on Lansing, New York."

That goes for customers, too.  Taylert took notes at the Harbor Festival as people asked him to carry specific products.  Bomzer has spoken to Rabbi Brian Walt at the Tikkun v'Or synagogue in the Village of Lansing about products that will serve Lansing's Jewish community.  Taylert realizes that a smaller market can't carry everything, so he stresses that he wants his customers to tell him what they want to make the market specifically local and specifically Lansing.

"Don't take it home and stew about it because you couldn't find it.  Let us know right away," he says.  "That's how we're all going to build our community Lansing grocery market together.  I don't want to be competitive with Wegmans and Tops, because we're not Wegmans and Tops.  We're Lansing Market, so we want to give our customers specifically what they need.  If we can get hold of it we'll get it."

lmaug_custservThe customer service counter will feature two cash registers, one with a lower counter so that people in wheelchairs will be able to reach.

lmaug_checkoutCheckout counters are ready to be installed. Cash registers haven't arrived yet. When they are they will be tied into a computer system that Scann Manager Shannon Canino can access from her office.

A color, programmable LED sign will be installed in front of the market.  Local clubs, sports teams, and other organizations will have their messages displayed on it, and the plan is to mirror those messages on the market's Web site.  Even the investers are Lansing people or relatives of Lansing people.  Taylert says all the managers are from the local area as well.  The store has hired bakers and a chef who will prepare products in the store.

In addition to managing the Hot Foods and Deli departments, Muraca will be the chef behind pre-made meals.  The store will offer these for people who have limited time for lunch or dinner and who need to eat on the run.  Muraca, a Trumansburg resident, was a part-owner and manager of the Glenwood Pines.

"He will be preparing, pretty much, his own recipes," Taylert says.  "We've gven him our menus, the things that we like.  We have fryers, ovens, griddles, the french fryers and pressure fryers, and bakery ovens... he'll be able to cook whatever he wants, and customers requests.  Mike Pronti will come as a guest to cook his famous meatballs.  I'd like to have a lot of guest chefs."

As opening day approaches the staff will begin work stocking the shelves and arranging the store.  The non-perishable staff people will come on first to fill all the grocery shelves, the frozen food cases, the dairy cases.  Perishables will be put on the shelves the day before opening.  Taylert says that Associated Wholesalers, Incorporated (AWI), the store's main supplier, will also provides hands-on professional help that will be invaluable during the initial setup.

lmaug_extThe outside is substantially finished. The big job here is paving the parking lot.

"We want to lead off with a nice display, and we want to end the shopping experience with a pleasant experience on the front end through the cash registers as far as getting the customer out as quickly as we can with good customer service.  Once you lead off with a good produce department it will flow."

Taylert says the store will have a 'soft opening' on September 14th, then an official opening in October.  The soft opening will give the new staff a chance to train on the job, and to tweak procedures.

"We'll open the doors, and it will be a lot of on the job training," he says.  "We've got new people and no place to train them so we'll have a month or so to get everyone in synch.  Then we'll have a grand opening when we'll be at our best."

Pin It