Counter to today’s startup craze, Reid’s owner Tom Coker is growing his business the old-fashioned way — investing in people and reinvesting profits into growth.
“We’re expanding slowly and we’re self-funding our expansion,” Tom told me over the phone. “Our biggest challenge is to maintain culture and to make sure we have really good people taking care of our customers. Almost all of our internal meetings start off by celebrating our people and discussing the customer. You need to have good people and a good balance sheet.”
Tom is old school.
This became clear to me while listening to him methodically describing the inevitable growth of his business. I’m frequently around startup-y founders and it was refreshing to hear the Tom say things like, “We move at a slow pace.”
But don’t mistake slow for lack of vision.
When Reid’s sees opportunity, it pounces. For example, when real estate turned over at the Cameron Village Shopping Center in Raleigh, the Reid’s management team made the decision to launch a store there within a week.
Reid’s now has 117 employees. Employees enjoy competitive pay and benefits. “You must have good people,” Tom explained. “We try to create a culture where people actually enjoy coming to work.”
In December 2015, Reid’s launched its second store near Dick’s Sporting Goods in SouthPark (it’s gorgeous). The Raleigh Reid’s will open its 4,700 sqft holiday-style store before Thanksgiving.
Why Raleigh? That was easy for Tom to answer: “The city has an appreciation for fine local foods. We love the demographics of the city. And Raleigh is close enough to Charlotte that we can have shared resources.”
Reid’s has also been evaluating real estate in cities like Greenville, Winston-Salem and Columbia.
Their plan is to open one or two stores a year.
Expect Reid’s to make several key hires over the next few years as they expand.
Tom’s philosophy is hire from within, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Reid’s management team bring on key executives to strengthen the management team.
Sure, you may know Reid’s as the fine foods store where you grab a last minute bottle of wine or chill out for a fancy cheese plate – but in a few years, you may know Reid’s as a regional food and drink business powerhouse.