WARM WELCOME: Sam’s Club employees Natalie Rodrigues, left, and Carla Silveria look over a “welcome packet” that the store gives to its new small-business members.
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL PERSSON
By Michael Souza PBN Staff Writer
Eats owner George Mihailides looks forward to the periodic visits to the restaurant on 1395 Fall River Ave., in Seekonk, by staff of the nearby Sam’s Club.
“They keep almost everything in stock,” he said recently. “If we need anything and they don’t have it, they will try to get it for us. … If we run out of anything they will get it to us as soon as they can.”
And when Mihailides volunteered to help a soup kitchen in Fall River, it was Sam’s Club that donated the food. “Rachel [Dufault, the Seekonk store’s general manager] didn’t have to do that but it was great,” he said.
The relationship between the restaurant and Dufault’s store is part of an effort by Sam’s to reach out and provide the service of a local store and deliver it with the personal touch.
“We held what we call a [two-week] blitz program,” said Dufault. “We scheduled appointments to reach out to local small businesses that aren’t members of Sam’s Club. We go into their place of business and explain to them … how Sam’s Club, as a company, can help save them money.”
Sam’s also visits existing customers such as Eats in an attempt to save them more money.
“We like to stop and talk to them, to see how things are going; if they are a member of Sam’s Club we’ll ask how our company is working for them,” Dufault said. Owned by Walmart, Sam’s Club believes that understanding a small business’ day-to-day processes and practices can help the company make money-saving recommendations to customers.
With Sam’s Club’s Warwick location being rebuilt, the Seekonk store has a larger regional territory. Company representatives sit with the business and review the materials it uses. Recommendations are made if necessary and Sam’s Club will even order materials they don’t normally carry, if it helps the customer.