Food City’s Steve Smith inspires PBPA

Susan EspirituOur Town Leaders, Powell

Powell Business & Professional Association (PBPA) treated members and guests to a dynamic presentation by Steven C. Smith, Food City president/CEO. As Smith effortlessly weaved personal anecdotes and powerful narratives into his presentation, we learned many facets of the legacy and culture that make Food City unique among its competitors.

Food City has a fascinating history which Smith detailed, but it is the special features of the company he highlighted that make it unique. Here are just a few:

Food City wanted to bring back legacy brands like Terry’s chips, Kay’s Ice Cream, Kern’s Bread and Lay’s Meats so Food City acquired the recipes and brought these back as exclusive items in their stores.

Food City offers about every locally grown product available from berries to cabbage and corn to tomatoes when in season, accounting for at least 20% of their produce. Smith said not one pumpkin was sold in a store last fall that was not grown by a local farmer.

Smith emphasized the importance of the corporate culture focusing on three key areas: delivering exceptional customer service, acknowledging associates as the No. 1 asset and providing community support.

Although Smith gave individual examples in each focus area, the key example to me is the company’s growth from one store to the 133 current stores with more opening in 2024. That growth comes from a community that welcomes the stores, associates that feel supported, and customers who remain loyal.

Steve Smith may direct the Food City empire, but he is a down-to-earth, hometown guy, who was inspiring to hear last Tuesday.

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