As associates, one of the most enjoyable things about working at Food Lion is interacting with customers and knowing that by helping them out with their needs, we've made an impact on them. But it's not every day when a customer makes an impact on an entire store, and a long-lasting one at that.
Fernando Roberts came in to shop almost every day at store 707 in Shelby, N.C. In fact, one could say he took the definition of "loyal customer" to a whole new level! Not only did his frequent visits mean he was stocked up on food, but it also meant he got to know the associates on a personal level. He had a laugh and a smile so contagious that everyone adored, and he always made it a point to talk to the associates, ask them how their day was going and joke around with them.
Fernando became such a well-known customer, and friend of Food Lion, that he was asked to cut the ribbon during the store's launch event last October and was deemed an honorary Food Lion associate.
Fernando was not just a customer at Store 707, he was part of the family. When he received a Food Lion t-shirt, he wore it every Wednesday as a way to show off his "uniform" and told other customers proudly that they were shopping at "his Food Lion."
When the store associates found out a couple months ago that Fernando passed away, they immediately reached out to his family to support them and attend the service. They were honored to hear Fernando's friends and family speak about him, and everyone who spoke said something about Fernando's love of Food Lion. Someone even commented that the store should be renamed "Fernando Lion" because of how much he adored and talked about it.
"It means a lot to know the interactions our associates have had over the years impacted Fernando so much he wanted to be referred to as an honorary associate," said Lisa Hagler, customer service manager at Food Lion Store 707 "In actuality, he is the one who made an everlasting impact on us and will be truly missed."
Although Kristin Wells, Store Manager at 707, didn't have the opportunity to meet Fernando, she can tell by talking to everyone that he was someone special.
"It's customers like Fernando that drive us to go above and beyond each day," Wells said.
Fernando's kind-heartedness and love and passion for Food Lion lives on through the associates so much, they feel he's still there every day making his daily rounds. Although he may be gone, he is certainly not forgotten and continues to inspire how associates interact with customers, our extended Food Lion family, every day.