June 9, 2015
Home to about 2700 people is Myrtle Point, Oregon, and also home to Fat Albert’s Deli Mart. Albert Lillie – AKA “Fat Albert”- the primary owner and former logger, decided to try his hand at owning and running a convenience store just about two years ago. Named after the former logger, the store is a family effort with Albert’s son and daughter-in-law Brian and Laura as part-owners and Albert’s second son, David and daughter-in-law Shari managing the store. It’s a family effort – all together putting in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make it a success. All of them work together at the store along with a few other key employees who make a difference every day, making this small logging and farming community store a success.
Albert and his family had a lot of work to do in his first year as owners. With too many delivery days and too much ordering to do, Albert looked for a single distributor who could provide most of the store’s need to cut down on the hectic delivery schedule. That’s when Harbor Wholesale’s Jerry Brown came to Albert’s aid. Albert and his staff liked Jerry and found him to be very “down to earth”. It seemed they all got along with him well but the real selling point for Albert was Jerry’s good ideas. “I appreciate his honesty. He gives good input.” Harbor was able to deliver twice a week (a necessity for the store limited on freezer space) and offered competitive pricing. With that, Albert was able to eliminate 9 vendors. Now Albert estimates Harbor supplies 95% of the store’s inventory – including Java Classics coffee, hot food like pizza (both hot and take-and-bake), hot and cold sub sandwiches made-to-order and a wide variety of other hot case foods along with the normal convenience store goods.
“Harbor has changed the whole game in our store,” commented Shari Lillie, Albert’s daughter-in-law.
According to Albert, Jerry and the Harbor team worked really hard with him and his staff to get the store right – even going above and beyond to help the store when they need a hand. Foodservice Developer Theresa Hill has helped the store out in any way she can – even by stopping by to clean the granita machines on a day when the store was too busy to have an employee take care of it. “There’s just a personal interest in our store that makes a big difference,” said Shari.
Even when Albert or someone from the store asks a question that Jerry, Theresa, Merchandiser Valerie Struss or Regional Manager Keith Davidson can’t answer, Fat Albert’s appreciates the extra mile effort to get a right answer. “No one ever says ‘that’s not my category’,” commented loyal employee Courtney Hammack.
And the community has noticed. Patrons enjoy a cleaner store and often pay compliments to how it’s improved over the past two years. New TV monitor menus have also left a great impression while making it easier to adjust prices and add new items. “We’re constantly changing up our selection. We like to try new things.”
The future is bright for Albert and his family. “We’re still growing and Harbor is with us all of the way.” Albert, Harbor is happy to be a partner with you and your family to make Fat Albert’s Deli Mart a great store to visit.