Inside the Market

Extraordinary Stories of Kindness

By Janis Galloway

Published May 2020

Every day our team experiences the gratitude and kindness of others. These are moments worth celebrating. 

Although this has been a challenging time for Albertans, we are proud to say through it all our team has been committed to focusing on the positive and supporting our team members and customers at a time when they need us most. 

Sunterra’s senior operations team meets seven days a week on a conference call to share feedback and details, so we can learn from each other and support each other. It’s an incredible way to start the day and share common issues to resolve them and work together. There is always lots of praise and gratitude shared in these conversations. This is always an upbeat call, no matter what the issues are we are dealing with. Now more than ever it’s important we stay connected and the little details matter a lot.

This sentiment has been expressed numerous times by both our team members and our customers, especially over the past few weeks. When it feels like the sky is falling, these interactions of graciousness and connection with others, truly feel unique no matter how large or small. 

We decided to capture these stories and share them with both our team and customers, because these are moments worth celebrating. We turned to two of our Sunterra Market team members who spend their days deeply involved in the inner workings of our business – COO Chris Alladin and VP of Operations and Purchasing José Lomeli. We asked if they would share some of the most impactful moments from our Markets and we’re pleased to now share them with you. 

What experiences with customers have really stood out to you over the past few months?

Chris: “Recently on a weekend evening, we had brought one of our elderly customer’s groceries to her car for her. I saw her then coming back into the store and was hoping everything was OK. We approached her and she had a $50 Sunterra gift card in her hand, which she wanted to give to our team to say thank you as she was so grateful for the service to her car. We don’t typically accept gifts from customers and of course it is never expected as this is the work we do and we are happy to do it. She was insistent, so we accepted the card and bought a variety of fruit and snacks that was shared amongst the team."

José: “We have a customer who visits us every week, purchases a bouquet of flowers and gives a flower to each staff member as a thank you for the work we’re doing. It’s incredibly generous and a kind gesture that means a lot to our team."

Chris: “An AHS employee was visiting the market to shop, and we could see she was overwhelmed with gratitude for the 25% off discount we are currently offering. She asked to speak to our leadership team to personally express her appreciation. Those small personal connections and the relationships we build with customers are incredibly motivating and are what make Sunterra a really special place to work.”

Can you share some moments that made you really proud of your teammates?

José: “A few of our staff have connected with others who have taken sick days to personally check-in and even drop off gifts at their homes with groceries, flowers, care packages of lemon and ginger and fresh squeezed orange juice. It was a reminder of how much we are a family at Sunterra. That is a key value in everything we do and it’s woven into our culture that relationships are everything. It’s been really inspiring to see how our team members step up to care for each other.”

Chris: “It’s true there have been challenges as many businesses including Sunterra pivot to meet new needs from customers. With a fast need to focus on supporting our customers with online orders we knew there would be some bumps in the beginning, but also knew our team is empowered to turn challenges into opportunities. Early on, one of our Assistant Managers received a complaint from a regular customer who had never used online shopping before and was having challenges. The Assistant Manager took the customer’s order over the phone and the team gathered all the items and personally delivered the order to the customer’s home. She was in self-isolation and we knew by just taking that extra step we could make her day better. At the end she was very grateful and we did our job at making it right and making it better.”

Chris: “Something I’m really proud of at Sunterra and know we thrive at is the details. We have team members at the front doors to greet customers with a smile and welcome them into the store. We listen to our team members to bring ideas to us that they think could help make the customer experience better. We all take pride and passion to think of those small things for our customers whether it’s offering a small bottle of fresh orange juice for those in line-ups, or calling a customer directly to support them with a question. We notice our customers appreciate these small gestures and it gives our team a lot of joy to know we can make that kind of impact on someone’s day.”

These are the special-to-Sunterra experiences we are extremely proud to hear. Thank you to the Sunterra team for their hard work, passion and dedication to supporting each other as family and serving our customers as our extended family. We know these moments of kindness have occurred in the past, and will occur in the future, but it truly does feel extra sweet to slow down and appreciate them at this time.

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