The Science Behind the Shelves: John's Work with SAS Retail Services

By Sara Porcaro | Jul 21, 2021
Employment, COVID-19, Rhode Island, Disabilities, Work, Recognition, Stop and Shop, Local Business
John at Stop & Shop with SAS

We all have our routines for the weekly grocery shopping. Which stores we hit first, then second, then third, or the special ingredients that we can only find at one store, and even the staples we buy so frequently that we don't even need to write them down anymore--it's all just habits. Especially on those busy days where the meals we'll make for the week are all muscle memory, rather than recipes we found googling what to do with old green beans and chicken.
But sometimes, something new catches our eye. A different brand of ham, a less expensive butter, a new flavor of yogurt. Things aren't in the same place every time we go to the store, and that gives us a chance to try something new, maybe even find a new staple to add to our lists. That's because those changing shelves are organized by dedicated employees like John, who work for SAS Retail Services to rotate new products, change store layouts, update prices, and so much more at Stop and Shops across the state. While he's there with his peers, he works hard to make sure that every product is exactly where it needs to be--a job that, with brands bidding for places on the product wall, introducing new products, and retiring old ones every day, requires a sharp eye for detail.
"It's a really good job, with good pay," says John, "though before I started working here, I didn't realize how much goes into deciding the product displays. It's kind of cool."
At work in the Stop and Shops in Coventry, North Kingstown, and Narragansett, John wears his blue SAS jersey with pride, keeping track of the changes made with a diagram of the product shelves and coordinating the breakdown and restocking of each shelf with his peers. In the rare case that an item isn't yet available for stocking, he and his team also measure out the exact space that boxes and packages are meant to take up, marking off new territory for the latest brands, flavors, and other products to occupy. Before his current position, he still worked in retail, as a bagger at Dave's Market and other grocery stores and as a stocker for Hudson RPM Distributors, so the work is familiar to him nonetheless, and he enjoys doing his part.
"He does a great job here," says Career Developer Sarah Audet, who supports him on the job, "and he takes pride in it. He always comes in focused and ready to work."
"He does a great job here, and he takes pride in it. He always comes in focused and ready to work."
"I like knowing I'm helping customers find what they're looking for," John says, "and I like the hours I get here, too."
With how difficult the early pandemic made job hunting while staying safe, John is grateful to have this position--and that the scene has calmed down since he began last summer, when uncertainty still hung around the store from essential workers and customers alike. Now, while people are still practicing safe habits and doing their part to slow down the spread, the atmosphere is more relaxed, and the ever loosening restrictions meant that John, with the money he saved, was able to start going out and doing more of the things he enjoys. From going to the movies to going out with friends, it's getting easier for John to get back out, and there's plenty more he's looking forward to doing, both at home and out in his community. He's also been spending a little money for new clothes and merchandise from his favorite bands, like Hollywood Undead.
"Working feels a lot better this year," John notes, "and I'm looking forward to seeing my friends more often during the summer."
But when he's not planning fun things to do or making a purchase for himself, for the most part, John is enjoying the day to day routine and is saving his earnings for the future. No matter when he's in the store--either as an employee, or as a customer on the weekly grocery run--he can see the results of that work there on the display shelves, and he takes satisfaction in knowing he's done well. We're wishing John the best as he continues his journey with SAS Retail Services!


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