In this second installment of a 3-part conversation on the pandemic’s effect on the grocery store industry, Arin Alexander, VP of Client Relations, Vixxo, and Michael Sutherland, VP of Solutions Architecture, Vixxo, focused on the evolution and changing role of the grocery store facilities manager.

Alexander said the facility manager’s role at a store was always that partner in crime, the go-to person to fix something broken. But now, with the onset of the pandemic, that facilities role is so much more. “Now that partner in crime is helping me do so many more things. From cleaning my store to making sure the parking lot is extra safe, walking in, and to the back and the restrooms,” Alexander said. “I can tell you; facilities have been a heightened focus in the grocery organizations more than ever because of the value they provide to stores.”

“Historically, the store personnel were in charge of the customer experience,” Sutherland said. “They were focused on making sure the shopper had a good experience and facilities was responsible for the equipment and the building.” But that role is changing. “I have seen across multiple grocers now; facilities departments are also responsible for customer experience.” A clean store, which was always a function of facilities, now has a different connotation on the customer experience resulting from the pandemic.

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