A few minutes ago, Marie Bricker Furlong posted a comment in response to the Giant Eagle posts. I confirmed her email address and that Marie Bricker is the owner of the Cedar Avenue location. No one has reached out to me directly to discuss either from Giant Eagle corporate or from the local independently owned store. You can find my original post here and the follow-up post about the comments (with even more comments) here. Marie Bricker Furlong’s comment is on the second post. Also the person using the fake name Racheal Scottsdale posted a follow-up comment – from a different IP address. I’ll leave it to you to evaluate the content of both comments.
I also want to clarify that it was not me who spoke with Marie Bricker Furlong on Tuesday evening. I left a message that afternoon and then I called the store again on Wednesday morning and spoke with a male assistant manager. I know a friend of mine called the store on Tuesday after reading my post to commend the cashier, but I’m not sure if that’s who Marie is referencing or not. Just to be clear because it seems my original blog post about a positive interaction with a cashier has generated a lot of feelings and complicated responses.
I have not edited Marie’s comment except to add italics.
I am the owner of the Cedar Avenue Giant Eagle. One of my employees wrote that letter to you. I did not have knowledge of the letter until after it was sent. Her reason was that although you acknowledged Elizabeth’s great service, you said that we do not maintain the store and don’t care about investing in the customers or the employees. She found that to be an untrue statement.
When we took the store, it cost over 2 million dollars to clean it up store because of the deplorable condition. We have an older store, it will never look like a Market District or one of the newer stores. We clean the store daily, pay a company to come in and do it, along with having someone on the payroll clean throughout the day.
It is not an easy location. We hire people who live in the neighborhood. We give people second chances, hiring people who have made mistakes in their lives, and we feel they deserve a second chance. People who have come from violent neighborhoods, and unimaginable family home lives. Employees who have been “assaulted” just for walking down the street, or have seen a loved one shot and killed in front of them. Cashiers, and other employees who are always on the defensive because they have grown up with violence and fear. It is a defense mechanism. It is frustrating to hear that we don’t care about employees or customers. I have given people money for buses, jitneys, food, etc. I have paid out of my own pocket. These are customers who need help.
I have helped my employees keep from being evicted, paid to keep their utilities from being turned off, helped them get into apartments, given them bus passes, money to buy food for their families, etc.
It is not easy to watch people eating food through the store, and throwing their chicken bones, or wrappers on the floor or on the shelf.
Our bathrooms are destroyed at least 2 or 3 times a day. Theft in the store is out of control.
We have a lot of good employees, some bad, as with all locations. I wish I were able to pay them all what I truly think they deserve, but I would be out of business in 6 months. In the same regard, we do offer a full benefit package our employees at no cost to them and paid vacations.
My employee used a false name because she did not want me to know that she sent anything. When I approached her, she said it upset her that you would say we don’t care. We try. We have call offs constantly.
We hire people that never show up their first day. There is so much more to running a grocery store than opening the doors and selling groceries. It is not an easy location, but we have always liked being in the city stores and we do the best we can with what has been given to us.
Please don’t judge my employee harshly, as you don’t want anyone to judge you. She was trying to defend her employer, and I find that a little rewarding to know that someone acknowledged that we do care about both customers and employees.
As for Elizabeth, she will be recognized. I talked to you on the phone the first night when you called and complimented her. We do not always hear about good customer service, but we talk to employees about giving good customer service when they are hired. It truly is the way we always expect the employee to act toward a customer. Doesn’t always happen, but we want that kind of service. Have always wanted to be that friendly,neighborhood grocery store, where people feel welcome and known.