Retail Symposium with Jane Blain

Jane Blain presenting

On April 8, 2015 students from the Retail Symposium heard from Jane Blain Gilbertson, President and CEO of Blain’s Farm and Fleet, about the company’s culture, and new focuses the company is working on.

“Shifting our culture from a product driven company to a customer-centric company”

is their primary goal as stated by Ms. Gilbertson. The company has been family run since its start in 1955. Being a family owned company, family values are at the forefront and it is this that sets them apart from their competitors because their employees really care. Ms. Gilbertson stressed,

“Wherever you go to work, whatever you do, make sure it feels like home”

which is what the company culture strives to be. The company is clearly about family and wants everyone to feel welcome. Looking to the future, Ms. Gilbertson highlighted the fact that the company wants to move in a greener direction. They want to encourage stores to recycle more and to save more energy whenever possible. Also, since they are shifting into a more “customer-centric” goal, convenience is key at their retail locations. They now incorporate drive thru services to make it easier for customers to pick up their purchases that are a bit cumbersome to drag out to their car. They want to create more radio and TV campaigns to drive in more customers, and start to spread out to ecommerce. In addition, students also got to hear from Greg Shebesta from the recruiting, training, and retention side of the company. Mr. Shebesta gave students invaluable information about summer internship opportunities at the company as well as recruiting insight from the company. Another great week for the students in the Retail Symposium!

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