Sometimes, your co-workers and customers can make or break whether you love your job. For retail managers at locally owned and operated Shoppers Drug Mart stores, the people they work with and the customers they help are a big part of why they stay.
“I enjoy the people," said Loren Allen, Front Store Manager at one Shoppers store. "I enjoy helping people. I enjoy, believe it or not, the human resources part of it. I like coaching. I like bringing out the best in people."
This sentiment is shared by Dave Cameron, the Assistant Front Store Manager at another locally owned and operated Shoppers store. Both Allen and Cameron enjoy the people aspect of their jobs, but that's not all they have in common.
Both Allen and Cameron went into the retail field straight from school and pursued a management role because of their love for helping people.
Allen’s journey with Shoppers began as an Assistant Manager. After some time with the store, Allen learned that his previous manager was retiring, so he set his sights on the Front Store Manager position. When the position opened up, he applied, and thanks to his hard work and motivation, he obtained a Front Store Manager role.
Allen has been working with various locally owned and operated Shoppers stores since 2009 but has been in the industry since 1998. Cameron, on the other hand, just graduated from school.
When he finished high school, he went into a management role with a different company. He previously worked with his current Front Store Manager years before, and when he saw a job posting online for his current position at a Shoppers store, he applied. He has been with his Shoppers store for about a year and six months.
Cameron's smooth transition is credited to Shoppers Drug Mart's Leadership Excellence and Development (LEAD) program. He took this 12-week program, learning different aspects of the retail manager role as well as information about the Shoppers Drug Mart national brand, so that once he was ready, he applied and was able to jump right into his new role.
As an Assistant Front Store Manager, Cameron’s daily tasks typically include: assisting his Front Store Manager; looking after all the purchasing for events; looking after merchandising; keeping everyone on track; working the orders; and making sure everyone is keeping everything organized.
Allen’s role is similar, but as a Front Store Manager, his day-to-day job usually involves meeting with his Assistant Managers, going over lists, delegating tasks, reviewing customer service indexes and working closely with his local Pharmacist Owner.
Being a Front Store Manager involves a lot of interaction with customers and managing staff—essentially, you work with people all day. You have to genuinely enjoy working with others and helping customers.
“When you can help a customer, if they’re coming through those doors, they can go through any door at any other retailer … but if they’re coming here, I’m happy. I’m happy they’re here,” Allen said.
Allen says his local Pharmacist Owner and staff help keep him engaged and happy in his job.
He recognizes he has the support of a national brand but working for a local Pharmacist Owner in a community pharmacy makes a difference with personal relationships.
"(What I love about my job) is the people. I spend a lot of my time with these people, and if you don't have a good rapport, good relationships, it wouldn't be a great place to work," he said. "Thankfully, there's probably not a single day where I don't want to come to work."
Cameron noticed that the positive atmosphere at his Shoppers store was unlike any other place he’s worked at before. His coworkers made it easy for him to fit right in. He appreciated everyone’s positive attitude and the store’s culture.
“The working environment is phenomenal. You don’t feel like a number. You feel like you’re actually contributing to the business and helping it grow,” he said.