Saturday, August 11, 2012

Smith's Food & Drug Celebrating 80 Years in Business

A few weeks ago I wrote about Harmons grocery stores celebrating their 80 birthday. I didn't realize that the time that Smith's Food & Drug is also 80 years old this month.  To celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary and thank Smith’s loyal customers, stores will host in-store parties on Saturday, August 11, from Noon to 5  p.m. with free items on the Spin-to-Win Wheel and birthday cake for all. 
When six-year-old Dee Smith began sweeping floors at his father Lorenzo’s 5,000 square foot grocery store in Brigham City, Utah in 1932, he began his career in what he later called the “People Business” – grocery retailing. As that boy grew up, Dee Smith was known an inspirational business leader and generous community supporter. Over the years, Smith’s has grown into 125 Food and Drug centers, six multi-department Smith’s Marketplace stores and 75 fuel stations throughout Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona and Montana. 
The company became a part of the Kroger Co. family of stores since 1999. 

- I'll confess: I'm a frequent Smith's shopper. The Farmington store is the supermarket closest one to my house, and its "Fresh Rewards" program offers me a lot of savings in both groceries and gasoline. Depending on how many points you earn, you can take off up to $1 per gallon at the pump. Through the cards I receive coupons based on my past purchases, so they're for items I would actually use.

 While I was testing recipes for my cookbook, "Soup's On!" last year, it was pretty common to spend $300-400 a week on groceries. The fuel rebates and the coupons certainly helped defray my costs. Also, I buy most of my groceries with my Kroger credit card, so I earn a rebate from Kroger to spend on groceries. So overall, I feel like I'm saving as much as I would at a warehouse club, especially when I shop the sales. (But I don't have to buy huge amounts in order to get the savings, and someone else bags my groceries!) 
Some things you may not know about Smith's:

  - As one of Utah’s largest employers, more than 6,600 Smith’s associates work in 47 stores, division offices and the Layton Distribution Center. 
  -  Smith’s is investing $10 million in associate training in 2012, including optional Spanish language classes and 8-week manager development training. The company’s “Helping Hands Fund” offers financial assistance to associates who are faced with unexpected financial crisis because of unforeseen circumstances.
  -  The company, in partnership with associates, customers, suppliers and Kroger Foundation awarded $9.5 million in food and cash to Utah organizations in 2011. The company is on track to exceed that in 2012. Smith’s contributed to the Kroger Co.’s honor of being named by Forbes magazine as the most generous company in American in 2011, based on charitable giving measured as a percentage of pre-tax profits. In 2012, Smith’s is being honored by the Utah Food Industry Association as this year’s “Impact Award“ recipient for its charitable giving. 
   - Smith’s sustainability practices include creating Kroger’s first solar-powered store; reducing energy usage 35% since 2000; recycling the equivalent of 1 million plastic bags in used shrink wrap film and used shopping bags in one year; requiring suppliers to have humane animal-kill practices; setting sustainable seafood goals; and lightening the weight of pallets to reduce fuel consumption in deliveries.

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