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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 19, 2013 3:44 PM. The previous post in this blog was As it's never been seen before. The next post in this blog is Farewell to the Man and to the Earl of Baltimore. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mini-Freddy's on the way

Here's an interesting interview with the president of Fred Meyer. Of course, the O dares not utter a critical peep about a big retailer, but even through that filter, he comes across as a smart manager.

Comments (13)

Critical peep? My family has been shopping Fred Meyer for four generations. They take care of their customers, period. If one has a complaint they fix it. Fred Meyer has been consistently the best grocer in this area for ever. Even being a subsidiary of Kroger has not neutralized their local flavor, instead it helped them lower their cost of doing business and passed those savings off to their customers. Fred Meyer is also very generous to local charities and involved in the communities they serve. You make flame me for wearing a tin foil hat on me favoring this retailer, but what I say is true. By the way, I am not affiliated with Kroger or Fred Meyer in anyway.

I heard someone a month or two ago refer to Fred Meyer as the "WalMart for rich people." Rich people? Really?

Actually, I remember who said this. It was an employee at WinCo, where I have taken to shopping in the last year because Freddie's is just too pricey anymore. My shopping there has been cut by 90%.

Good interview. But if you're really budget shopping, WinCo tops them by a country mile. Employee-owned, also.

I pitched the 'Frieda's Store' idea to them in the 90s and was soundly scoffed. Oh well, better late than never.

Freddy's internal operations was very different after it was bought by KKR in the 90's. KKR brought in the consulting firm A.J. Kearney to "modernize" Freddy's operations. Despite all the suits who flew up from L.A. every week, A.J. Kearney knew nothing about Freddy's business and wasted years and millions. Freddy later filed a malpractice suit against A.J. Kearney and either won or settled for millions of dollars.

Tom, you should look for the book by a reformed consultant called "Sorry I broke your company."

I've never gotten good corn on the cob from FM.

I'm a long-time Freddy's customer, and about a year ago they asked me to fill out a weekly survey on various aspects of their stores, my shopping habits, and areas they're looking to improve in. I was glad to do it because a)I'm sort of an opinionated person, and b)I like Freddy's. It's been interesting to see the topics of the surveys and then see if those things get improved down the road. Recent topics have ranged from online purchases to Christmas TV ads to improved signage on the shelves to improving the garden and hardware departments.

Let's see - smaller, more neighborhood focused stores.

So we have QFC, the neighborhood up-scale chain Freddy's bought back in the late 1990s (IIRC) prior to the Kroger merger. QFC didn't really take off in Portland and several stores were shut down; QFC still has a loyal following in Seattle, but that's about it.

Kroger owns Loaf-n-Jug which is similar to 7-Eleven in the midwest. I guess they could open up a few stores around here (especially at some of the gas stations that they bought out and whose C-stores are currently empty), but 7-Eleven is pretty well entrenched here. Kroger could, of course, engage in a pricing war...

Infill - in many parts of Portland it's just two or three miles that separates Fred Meyer stores. Many inner-city Portland stores are already smaller due to their 1950s and 1960s era construction. It was the 1980s and 1990s that brought out the super stores of nearly 200,000 square feet (Beaverton, Tualatin, Johnson Creek) but since then the trend has been stores closer to 125,000 square feet (Hillsboro, Wilsonville).

Where Freddy's needs to step up is in the rural areas where WalMart has already demonstrated its superiority but WalMart is not an absolute force in Oregon. Look at McMinnville (a smaller than normal WalMart with absolutely no room to expand), at Dallas/Independence/Monmouth (another small WalMart in Dallas; a store in Monmouth would serve the entire three cities with nearly no competition), Corvallis (no WalMart or Target and only a small, sub-sized Fred Meyer; Corvallis could probably support a Fred Meyer and a QFC or a full-sized store and a Marketplace), Lincoln City (no major chains; nearest WalMart or Freddy's 30+ miles south in Newport), St. Helens (another smallish WalMart store); even Rainier could attract the Kelso/Longview crowd who don't want to pay sales tax.

I've found that for groceries, no one store meets all my needs.

As I don't mind making several trips during the week, I find my way to trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Thriftway, Freddies, and even the new WalMart Neighborhood edition.

My mental list is checked each week as we determine what the home meal menus might be. Do I visit all each week? No. But I know which stores have the best in the foods we prefer.

Alas, Albertson's doesn't make the list even though it is the closest. My local one is mediocre when compared to the others. The better ones aren't convenient to my weekly travels.

Yes, I realize that not everyone can travel al over town to do their shopping. I'm happy that I have the ability and the choices.

And you do that all on a bicycle -- amazing.

all on a bicycle

For me, accessible conveniently on foot are: Trader Joe, Fred Meyer, Zupan's, City Market and Food Front. Wholé Foods and Safeway are a bit more distant, but still practical destinations for a pedestrian shopping trip. Fred's is by far the best all-around store for produce, meat and fish. But it's nice to have choices. As for bakeries , there are four or five really good ones, also reachable easily on foot. Density does have benefits.

Re: And you do that all on a bicycle -- amazing.

Nope. By car, of course!

"Tom, you should look for the book by a reformed consultant called "Sorry I broke your company."

I have many first hand experience with consultants and I have rarely seen one I could trust.

My company sold the first PC to Freddy in the early 80's and became it's sole source supplier. I built up a good relationship with most of Freddy's then executive team. I had the occasion of meeting Mr. Meyer and even tried to put a PC into his office. Mr. Meyer did not like that idea. That was the time when executives let their secretaries use computers to replace their typewriters but wouldn't be caught with one in their office.

When A. J. Kearney was brought in to manage the IS department, it fired and reassigned a lot of good people. Those who did not blindly comply were moved out of the way. I was asked by Freddy's audit department to give my thoughts about a portion of A. J. Kearney's plan. I pointed out how unworkable it was. Shortly after, the head of A.J. Kearney's team at Freddy started telling some Freddy's executives that I was in collusion with the IS and Accounting department and getting paid for equipments that were never delivered to Freddy as the reason Freddy should stop doing business with me. After word got back to me, I went to his office and asked him directly. He did not deny it but told me he did not have to prove it. I asked to schedule a meeting with him and either the CEO or CFO. He told me he answered only to KKR would not go to any meeting with me. That was the last time I went into Freddy's corporate offices.

Years later, one of the executives at Freddy told me that what I said about the plan was right and about the lawsuit that was quietly settled.

Just another one of my years ago stories and people I used to know.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
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Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
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Conundrum, White 2013
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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