Friday, December 14, 2012

HoCo Holler Returns!

When I was growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the department stores ran an ad campaign with this jingle, "If you haven't seen Higbee's today--you haven't seen Higbee's!" This style of slogan is still in use, apparently, as evidenced by The Washington Post:  If you don't get it, you don't Get It. At the risk of sounding just a little bit hokey, I'm going to put this out there:

The Oakland Mills Food Lion. Try it again; you'll like it.

These are some of the reasons you might try the Oakland Mills Food Lion:

1. You live in Oakland Mills.
2. You are patronizing one of the other Village Center establishments.
3. You are visiting the Columbia Ice Rink.
4. You are attending a service at the Interfaith Center.
5. You have a meeting or event at the Other Barn.
6. You have a doctor's appointment in the professional building.
7. Your child is a member of the Youth and Teen Center.
8. You are attending an event at Blandair Park.
9. You have picked up a prescription at Walgreen's but need something for dinner.
10. You don't have a nearby grocery store where you live. (i.e., Running Brook, etc.)

Here is the reason you might not not try the Oakland Mills Food Lion:

You've tried it before, and were disappointed.

That's a pretty big reason.  We have a great selection of grocery stores in Columbia. Why keep patronizing one if you have been disappointed in customer service, selection, or quality? Until very recently Oakland Mills residents have been grateful, on the one hand, that we have a grocery store in the Village Center, and sad, on the other, that it was so lackluster in fulfilling its mission.

So the people who could choose went elsewhere, and the people who couldn't were stuck.  And for a while it seemed that the Food Lion Corporation was just fine with that. "Give us your tired, your poor...your struggling masses that have no other choice..."

Enter the new manager, Joe.  In the space of a few months he has brought huge changes to this store.  He is the first to admit that improvement will be an ongoing process, but anyone who has patronized this store will see a big difference. The produce section is laid out better, and food is fresher. Displays are more organized and well-stocked. When crowds appear, management responds much more quickly in adding cashiers.

The biggest change is the most important:  customer service.  Cashiers make eye contact, speak to you, smile.  Employees in the store are willing to help you find things. For the first time ever, I saw an employee run out to the parking lot to bring a forgotten bag to a patron.

I am giving an extra-large, value priced HoCo Holler to Joe and the staff of the Oakland Mills Food Lion for the work they are doing to make our store a better place to shop.  And I am asking you to cast your vote for them and what they are doing by trying the store again a few times.  If you like it, shop there more often.

If you see issues that could be improved, ask for Joe.  He told me he wants to know how they can be better. And let me know what you think, as well.

Right now I'm headed down to the store for some oats to make my Famous Oatmeal Cookies for the Oakland Mills Cookie Swaptacular.


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