Shmoozing with Shloy
Maybe it’s his warm and friendly smile. Maybe it’s his unfailingly helpful attitude. Or maybe it’s his impressive soup-to nuts-to-cholent beans range of food expertise. Whatever the reason, when it comes to customer assistance, grocery manager Shloy Rubinstein is one of Gourmet Glatt’s most popular go-to guys.
In this issue of Market to Table, Shloy talks about what it takes to run the Five Towns’ busiest grocery department.
Market toTable Customers are so accustomed to seeing you around the store, it’s hard for them to imagine a time you weren’t there. How long have you actually been at Gourmet Glatt?
Shloy I’ve only been here for four years. But at this point, I can’t imagine being anywhere else either.
MTT Have you always worked in the grocery business?
Shloy I worked for a food and drinks distributor for a couple of years, but I had no retail grocery experience at all before coming here. In fact, back in those days, I found supermarkets very overwhelming; I wouldnít even walk into my local Brooklyn store unless my wife drew me a map and marked down exactly where to find each item on her list.
I hated that I could never find anyone to help me. Even if I managed to get someoneís attention, they would just point in the general direction of whatever I was looking for and walk away. It was very frustrating.
MTT Would you say those experiences have had an influence on the way you do your job today?
Shloy Absolutely. Even though Iím primarily responsible for bringing in and overseeing the storeís inventory, I also have a lot of personal interaction with customers.
If I see someone walking around looking for something, I make it a point to go over to them and offer my assistance—and I train all our stock clerks to do the same thing. Of course, sometimes it turns out the customer is just looking for a husband or wife who got lost in one of the aisles shmoozing with a friend.
MTT You’re joking, of course.
Shloy I’m only half-joking — that actually happens more than youíd think. After all, meeting up with friends and neighbors is a big part of the whole Gourmet Glatt shopping experience.
But to get back to your question, itís very important to me that customers know Iím always here to help them ó and not just to find products on the shelves. They know they can come to me with any special request, even if it involves a different department.
MTT What’s the most common special request you get?
Shloy Most often, customers will ask me to order some new item that they heard or read about.
But I get all kinds of requests. Someone might bring in a non-kosher recipe they found in a magazine and ask me to figure out what substitutions they can use. Or a customer will ask me to help plan a menu for a special occasion. And almost every day someone will ask me what for an unusual supper or side dish idea.
MTT This is a very big, busy store; do you find it difficult to respond to all these questions and still do your job as grocery manager?
Shloy Always being available to customers, making sure they get everything they need, is my job–and itís the job of every staff member on the floor, no matter what department they work in. Our goal here is to make every person who comes into this big, modern supermarket feel theyíre getting the same personal, one-on-one service they’d expect from a little corner grocery store.
And based on what Iím hearing from our customers every day, I think weíre accomplishing that goal.
Shloy’s Product Picks
Howie & Sally’s Biscotti and Biscottini. These mouthwatering Italian gourmet biscuits come in a variety of flavors that are delicious with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. And because they all have attractive toppings—from toasted coconut to drizzled icings—the crunchy biscuits make a perfect dessert accompaniment too.
Huy Fong Sriracha. An all-natural chili sauce made from sun-ripened jalapeno chili peppers and garlic, Huy Fong Sriracha’s unique spicy flavor will enhance almost everything you put on your table–from soups to sauces to pastas to pizza to hot dogs and hamburgers and much more.
La Salamandra Dulce de Leche. I have to admit I’m partial to dulce de leche, a rich, milk-based caramel sauce, since I grew up eating it in my native Argentina, where itís extremely
popular. The La Salamandra brand is free of additives and preservatives and has a silky smooth texture and delicious sweet, milky flavor. It’s great as a pastry filling, sandwich spread or right out of the jar ñmy favorite way of eating it.
Pre-Checked Salad Greens. Making salads is really easy thanks to our produce department’s selection of checked-on-premises salad greens. Not only are they super convenient—no washing and drying needed either—they stay fresh and crispy in the refrigerator for days.
Gourmet Glatt Beef Jerky. When our meat department team, headed by Rabbi Berel Wolowick, set out to produce a truly superior beef jerky, even they couldn’t predict just how delicious the final product would be.
Made from extra-lean (almost fat free) beef and marinated in four different flavors–Original, Teriyaki, Mild, and Spicy–our beef jerky contains absolutely no preservatives. And because it’s made right in our store, we can oversee every step of the production process–from seasoning and marinating to dehydrating and packaging. So our customers can be sure they’re getting high-quality, super flavorful beef jerky every time. Great for traveling or anytime snacking.
Candy, Chocolate and Nut Platters. Not only have we expanded our nuts and candy selection ñ and added a wide variety of sugar-free treats–the store now features beautiful gift platters perfect for every occasion.