Troy and Tina Clark
Bellingham Grocery Outlet
The first days working in a Grocery Outlet, Troy immediately felt more connected to his work, and appreciated than he ever had in a job before. He pursued the career switch with a heartfelt enjoyment and can-do attitude, eventually leading him to the role of a Grocery Outlet store manager in Idaho.
Troy and his wife, Tina, have known each other since they were 12 years old. Once home from college, Tina was hired at the store Troy was working at. After Troy moved to Idaho for his managerial position at Grocery Outlet there, the two continued to date long distance and soon married. Looking back now, they reminisced, “We were just two 19 year olds that didn’t know what our plans would exactly be. We just knew we had a tireless work ethic, and a deep commitment and love for one another. The more we learned about Grocery Outlet, the more we seriously knew it was a definitive career path, and we weren’t shy of working hard.” The couple has owned their Bellingham, Washington location for 20 years.
Troy and Tina applaud the family atmosphere apparent throughout the entire Grocery Outlet organization, in their store and within the company. The husband-and-wife team credits the founding family of Grocery Outlet, the Reads, with consistently striving to uphold their wholesome values at their business’ core and develop personal relationships with their Operators and extended team members as friends, not just business partners. That mentality is shared by Troy and Tina, who aim to have their employees and customers feel like they too have a stake in the store, that no one is above one another, and that they all depend on each other. “You come into our Bellingham location, and we want you to feel very welcomed and cared for, as a customer or an employee,” Tina said.
As the Clarks built a family atmosphere at their Grocery Outlet, the store and their careers allowed them to build their own family and achieve their personal goals as parents. “For us, to have Tina be able to be a stay-at-home mom has been #1,” Troy said. “And I’ve had the luxury to come and go as I’ve needed to. I can go to sports games, coach and be home for dinner. I’ve had the ability to work hard and not miss the t-ball game. That luxury is priceless to us.”
Tina and Troy have five kids, and all five have worked in their store at one point or another. “One summer, all seven of us were working here together!” she recalled. Over the years, their store has provided a great backdrop for family memories and community activities, such as their anniversary sales. The Clarks recently held one for their 20th anniversary, and it was a huge success with their employees and customers.
“At our store, every aisle has someone saying hi to you, asking how you’re doing. We make sure we provide the friendliest, most accessible, comfortable and enjoyable shopping experience. Working here, friendships are developed, we support one another, there’s a distinct level of camaraderie here and out in the community,” Troy said. “Success as an Owner Operator relies heavily on your team. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to have good people around you working to make sure you compete.”
The couple advised anyone looking to own and operate a Grocery Outlet: “Hire the right people for your weaknesses. Finding the best people for your store will help everyone grow.”