Knoxville Hy-Vee Store Director Brett Shelman started his new position on April 22 and thus far, he loves it here.
Knoxville, as well as the store itself, remind him of his hometown of Washington. The populations are similar, the store is roughly the same size and each town has its share of commuters.
Shelman has worked for Hy-Vee for many years. After a hiatus, during which he focused on farming, he returned to the company in 2005. His previous Hy-Vee experience includes Washington, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa and Mount Pleasant. His family still has farmland, but during his 13 years dedicated to agriculture, he focused on livestock. Shelman is married to wife, Michelle, and has three children.
In his free time, he likes to spend time with his children. He is also a good golfer and has played competitively, though this year he has only been able to play four rounds.
What he would really like to do is make Knoxville Hy-Vee the cleanest and friendliest establishment it can be. He has already begun to make changes, including the reduction of store hours - which became effective Oct. 3. It was the right business decision - that was not taken lightly - to have reduced the store's hours to 5 a.m.-11 p.m., instead of 24/7.
But that's not the only change that is coming to the store.
Next week, crews will arrive to replace all of the light fixtures to replace them with LEDs. It will not only improve energy efficiency, but the store will be brighter as a result.
In the months ahead, the store plans to do a complete update. This will include changes to the kitchen, new counters for the pharmacy and customer service and all new meat cases. All of this will be done with little to no inconvenience to customers.
"We will see good things coming," Shelman said.
Other changes taken place include the promotion of Brandon Marean from meat market manager to manager of perishables. This opened the door for Dan Post, who has 40 years of meat experience - including over 30 with Hy-Vee - to become the new meat market manager. Shelman calls him "the best market manager (he's) worked with." Tyler Johns has also come on as an assistant store operations manager. Emily Feagins is Knoxville Hy-Vee's "go-to" manager for all things, and is also the longest tenured manager at the store.
The entire management staff runs the store with the management philosophy of caring for and treating employees well. When an employee is happy, he or she will provide awesome customer service and a helpful smile, Shelman added.
With all of these changes, Shelman wants the community to know that Hy-Vee is back in full force to be a good community partner. He said the store is willing to help the community as much as he can. He said he would do anything within reason to help local schools. Much of Shelman's philosophy comes from working with two past winners of Hy-Vee's Store Director of the Year for Community Involvement award.
"You'll see us out in full force," Shelman said. Employees have new, red shirts with the new slogan "Smiles beyond the aisles". For next week's Knoxville Cancer Relay, employees will be dressed in pink Friday, Oct. 14.
Shelman likes the size of the Knoxville store, as it enables him to pitch in and help out in different departments and assist customers in different ways. For instance, customers are more likely to find him cutting meat or running a register than sitting in his office.
"I'd rather be out here mingling, getting stuff done," he said. Knoxville is also one of the 13 original Hy-Vee stores, which adds to Shelman's pride in the store and community.
When you come to Hy-Vee, every day you will see improvement, Shelman said. He said the store is not where he wants it to be yet, but he and his staff will continue to work hard to provide the best store they can.
This story has been changed since its original post.