Our Gaylord store opened in 2001. It is located in a plaza set back off Business 27. We used to have Carter's grocery store and retail businesses down the strip of our plaza, but a lot of businesses have all moved out to M32. We may not be out with the 4 lane traffic of big box retailers, but the ease of driving and the great deals sure make it worth coming out to this side of town.
The store is a little bit of an older store, but still nice and bright. The shelving is the tall 8 foot shelving which seems a little daunting, but is necessary to hold all of the treasures. It isn't one of our largest stores, only about 8,000 square feet - but they make pretty good use of all of it.
I mentioned before how each of our stores seems to have their own personality. I think that the thing that defines the Gaylord Merchandise Outlet is their sense of community. I have one story that helps to show who this crew is; On a busy Saturday afternoon in late February, the manager, Sara, took a phone call. It was an older woman who lived out of the area. It seems that her adult son lived outside of Waters, way back down some seasonal roads. His vehicle was broken down and he had no means to get into town. His mother was trying to reach a business who would make deliveries. She needed to get some food to her son and his dog. Sara asked the lady to call back in 30 minutes so she could check around and see if she could find any answers. Nobody in town made deliveries. The woman called back. Sara told her, " Call the grocery store and put in an order of groceries. I will deliver them to your son this afternoon when I finish up work." Now, of course, in this day and age, this can be risky. With that concern, another employee said, "you can't go out to some random house by yourself!" Sara told her that "I guess you will have to come along with me then because I need to get this out to him." A four-wheel drive vehicle was needed for the delivery, so Sara asked another fellow employee. This employee also wasn't keen on the idea so she offered to go as well, but her grown son refused to let them all go unless he went with them. At this point, 4 people loaded up in the borrowed four-wheeled drive vehicle, picked up a load of groceries, and wound their way out back roads, rocking through sticky spots of muck and finally came upon their destination. Needless to say, they were met with a big smile and a thankful heart. I know that some of you might be saying that they were foolish or reckless - but that is the heart of these people - meeting the needs of their neighbors.
Sara is the manager of the Gaylord store and has been almost since its beginning. She knows customers by name. She said, "I have watched families come in to Merchandise Outlet and watched their kids grow up and they now come in with their kids." It's like having a huge family. She stated that what she loves most about Merchandise Outlet is that she feels good to be a part of offering such great deals to people who need to stretch their budget.
You might not see Laura as much on the sales floor. She spends a lot of her time finding all those treasures in the back room and getting them ready to hit the floor. Laura has been with Merchandise Outlet for about 7 years. She enjoys seeing all of the variety of merchandise that comes through and to be able to offer such great deals.
Crystal loves working at Merchandise Outlet and has for about 6 years. She enjoys coming in each day and working with the team; "If you have to spend all day at work it is nice to be able to joke around and have fun with your job and each other." She works sometimes in the back room but mostly loves being on the floor where she can help customers. "Our customers know we are going to take care of them. We have one lady who comes in and we walk with her throughout the store because her vision is going so we describe stuff to her." "I just love my customers!"
Danielle has been with us for about a year. She has another big smile that you will find on the floor or at the register in Gaylord. Her bubbly personality is just infectious and sure to bring a smile to your face.
I asked each employee to tell me something that they liked about Merchandise Outlet, that they liked about working there, or that would help to describe their store. Here is Danielle's statement - edited by Crystal. I guess that about sums it up, doesn't it?
Meet CoCo. You will find CoCo mostly up front checking out customers and then on the floor stocking merchandise. She is a key player in customer service and and has been keeping things organized for about a year. Her succinct quote about Merchandise Outlet is; "Amazing management, awesome employees, excellent work environment, and the BEST customers." Some pretty positive adjectives, CoCo!
The Merchandise Outlet store has been established and has been a mainstream part of Gaylord before Gaylord spread out M32. They take pride in being an integral part of the community and offering great savings to the families that they care about. Like Sara said earlier, we have catered to families with small kids who now bring their kids in to meet the staff. Coming into Merchandise Outlet is like coming home.