retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In Montana, the Independent Record reports that “WinCo Foods is making progress on an 84,000-square-foot grocery store in Helena … In addition to Helena, WinCo is building a store in Billings. The two locations will be the first WinCo stores in Montana.”

The story notes that “WinCo does not require a membership, but keeps down costs by not bagging groceries for customers and only accepting cash, debit, checks, WIC and EBT cards.”
KC's View:
I love the WinCo model, largely because of the employee-ownership that creates a wonderful customer service culture within a price/value model.

But there’s something else sort of interesting in this story. It points out that “the Helena store is expected to employ more than 140 full-time and part-time employees,” but also that “there are only 500 to 600 unemployed people in Lewis and Clark County, meaning a great deal of WinCo's workforce would have to leave an existing job.”

So two things are going to happen. One is that WinCo is going to drive down the unemployment level. The other is that it may raise the benchmarks for what makes an employer of choice.