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Employees key to Piggly Wiggly’s success

Waupaca Chamber of Commerce recognizes local store

By Robert Cloud

Scott and Lorrie Neumann attributed the success of their supermarket to their employees.

The Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce presented Neumann’s Piggly Wiggly with the 2015 Large Business of the Year Award at the annual banquet Tuesday, Jan. 26.

“I truly believe that it is my employees that deserve this award. They deserve all the credit,” Scott Neumann said. “They are the ones out on the floor, everyday, scheduling, stocking, cleaning and taking care of my customers.”

Piggly Wiggly employs 70 people who serve customers at the register, prepare deli and bakery products, cut meat, stock shelves and keep the store clean.

Scott Neumann has been working for Piggly Wiggly for 28 years. He started at age 16, cleaning the meat room, bagging groceries and sorting bottles.

Over time, Neumann worked his way up to become the store’s manager.

He and his wife purchased the Piggly Wiggly from Gary and Bonnie VandenBerg on June 9, 2013.

“One of the things Lorrie and I talked about when we bought the store was that we felt it was important that we surround ourselves with good employees,” Neumann said. “Lorrie and I are not here 60 hours a week because we don’t have to be. They take care of our business.”

Piggly Wiggly also works with Waupaca County Industries to employ about half a dozen cognitively disabled workers as baggers and stockers.

According to Terri Schulz, president of the Waupaca chamber, the person who nominated Neumann’s Piggly Wiggly said it is “like walking into someone’s home. Scott’s friendly face and often Lorrie’s too are so welcoming. They are a great team that seems to do their best to be a strong asset for the Waupaca community.”

Schulz noted the Neumanns have supported local schools and community organizations.

Piggly Wiggly customers can bring their receipts to their church or nonprofit groups, which then can receive donations equal to 1 percent of the total purchases on the receipts.

“It’s a small community, and we want to give back what we can,” Neumann said.

“They show their pride in their store by constantly making changes in their merchandise to accommodate what their customers want, keeping their store clean and neat and having well trained employees that are there to help when needed,” Schulz said.

Neumann said the store has changed some of its merchandise in response to changes in people’s homes.

“It’s not like in the old days when mom fixed an eight-course meal,” Neumann said. “Now, she’s working until 5 o’clock and wants something she can pop in the microwave.”

He said Piggly Wiggly’s meat department has introduced oven-ready pork chops and wings. There are plans to put a new hot case in the deli.

Last year, Piggly Wiggly installed a refrigerated case at the main entrance for veggie and fruit trays, meats and cheeses.

“We’re the only locally owned grocery store in Waupaca. We have lived here all our lives, graduated from Waupaca High School and our daughter will graduate from Waupaca High School in May,” Neumann said. ”The money our customers spend here, stays here in the community.”

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