business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, after posting an email from MNB reader Lauren G. D. Redman, CEO of Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Oregon, I wrote that she is "both an MNB fave and one of the best independents out there."

One MNB reader responded:

Shout out to Newport Avenue Market.  I took a few months between jobs during the end of 2020 and early 2021, took a little roadtrip West, and found myself in Bend. Oregon.  Saw the last Blockbuster store before the streaming platforms found it.

But more importantly I found myself at Newport Avenue Market on multiple occasions.  What stood out the most, was the employee attitudes. THEY CARED.  The team in the wine department saw to it that I walked out with the type of Pinot I was looking for. The produce team went to the backroom and came out with a fresh box of the apples I was looking for.  The checkout team, where most stores make you feel like you're somehow ruining their day simply by choosing their line, CARED.  They were cheery, helpful, engaged in real conversation. That team was the final employee interaction I had before leaving the store and they nailed it.  Employees who are well compensated and have a stake in the game approach their job differently.  The customers see it, remember it, and spread the word.  By the looks of their parking lot, where it's a challenge getting a spot, most of Bend is in on the secret.

Happy to support independents like this, and the slightly higher prices didn't bother me one bit as I returned multiple times on that trip. 

All true.  

On a different subject, I got the following email from MNB reader Scott Burrill:

I just returned from a two-day junket to NYC where we visited a lot of retailers to review use of technology.  This gave me a chance to visit an Amazon-Go store for lunch, a first for this guy.  First, finding the in-store code on the Amazon app was clunky at best.  I would have expected the app to detect my presence and put it front and center. Instead, I had to go on a fishing expedition with my colleagues to locate it buried in the app.

Otherwise, the experience was everything I expected from an ease and speed perspective.  Interestingly, the system missed charging me for the sandwich I purchased!  When I inquired with the one employee on hand, they said to wait, and it’d probably come through on the receipt…it never did. 

This makes me wonder how much shrink these systems incur due to missed items.

I agree with the notion that the old Amazon Go system - there was a dedicated app - was a little easier than the current system, which has it embedded in the regular Amazon app.  

And I wonder if the shrink that occurs in this system is actually lower than the shrink that occurs with traditional systems.  (My experience is that the receipts for Amazon Go stores have been almost always accurate.)

Regarding the resurgence of cassette tapes, one MNB reader wrote:

What about 8 tracks, doesn’t anyone yearn for the days of 8 track players? I had one in my ’71 Ford Pinto, listening to Simon & Garfunkel and Three Dog Night and The Doors.

They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. (for cars and audio equipment, that’s probably a good thing!)

And, on still another subject, one MNB reader wrote:

Kevin, I had to laugh while the reading the story about CVS Remote Pharmacists “while still meeting patient-privacy requirements”. The pharmacy techs at my local CVS continue to announce to me and the long line behind me the medications I am picking up. Geez…

Agreed.  Worst nightmare:  I'm at CVS, and the pharmacist shouts out, "Coupe, double order of Viagra!"