Nestled within an hour's drive from Moose Jaw, Regina, and Weyburn, the Avonlea Home & Agro Centre stands as a testament to community-centric, versatile shopping. It’s a beacon for rural living essentials that offers an array of products from home and building supplies to bins and livestock supplies.
In 2021, Avonlea Co-op amalgamated with Moose Jaw Co-op, fortifying its community roots. The team including Kim Hanson, Mike Heistad and Michelle Howse, emphasize their commitment to community engagement, customer service and a team-driven approach to meet diverse customer needs.
“We have similar values,” says Kim Hanson, Hardware & Business Administration Manager. “This includes contributing to the surrounding community by supporting local events, building projects and a variety of other initiatives.”
“We’ve also been here for 88 years,” she mentions. “We are part of the community and know our customers. We understand their needs and try to create a positive, fun atmosphere for members and our team. We love it that people like to come here, have coffee and chat with us. After all, we live and work here too.”
Customer service is at the core of the business.
Hanson emphasizes that everyone on the Avonlea location team is there for the customers.
“That’s our number one goal,” she says. “We go above and beyond to help our customers, whether it’s a local repeat customer or someone new to our store. We want to treat everyone the same way.”
Mike Heistad, Agro & Building Supplies Manager, confirms Hanson’s perspective.
“We know the community, we know the people and that’s really what drives our services,” states Heistad. “Our employees have long term relationships with our customers, focusing on trust and honesty. These are things that customers really appreciate. When we say we’re going to deliver on time, we mean it – they can count on us.”
The member experience matters.
It starts by setting expectations for their team.
“We train our staff on the importance of their first interaction with a customer and focus on consistency,” asserts Hanson. “It’s what we try to instill in everyone who works here. We start by teaching them to acknowledge the customer as soon as they walk in the door.”
Michelle Howse, Liquor/Convenience Manager notes, “We really want our customers to have a good shopping experience and find what they need.” She adds, “We want customers to feel it’s worth coming to shop here. And we want them to be confident that items are priced competitively with anything they’d find in the cities.”
The team also understands that customers need them to be responsive and adaptable.
“We want to make it quick and easy for our members”, says Heistad. “They can get in touch with us by phone, but also by email or text because we know that those are the preferences of 90% of our customers. And they can expect a same day response and prompt service. Being from a small town, that’s particularly important to us. We want to maintain our reputation and continue to build relationships with customers.”
A store that has all the essentials.
For such a small community, it’s amazing how many products Avonlea has.
“We’ve been told we’ve got a great selection,” comments Howse. “It comes down to paying attention to the market trends and customer demands so members don’t have to go anywhere else. They know they’ll find it here.”
Avonlea's vast selection, from basic farming necessities to building materials, is complemented by a cooperative retail system, ensuring swift availability. This responsiveness extends to customer interactions, where personal, adaptable communication is prioritized.
“We try to have all of the basics for farmers,” says Heistad. “That includes fuel tanks, water tanks, livestock equipment, bins, augers, building materials and much more. And if we don’t have it, now that we’re part of Moose Jaw Co-op, we have other locations to lean on to be able to get it with a pretty quick turnaround. That’s the beauty of the Co-op retail system. We share inventory and have to work together to be able to do the right thing for our customers.”
“It doesn’t stop with the Co-op,” he stresses. “If it’s something that none of the centres have, we will find the vendor that does.”
Our goal is to exceed members’ expectations.
It’s not enough to meet expectations, it’s about exceeding them.
Ultimately, the team in Avonlea strives for a reputation within the community of being friendly and professional, having the right products and offering exceptional service. They believe success hinges on what customers believe and say about the business.
“We always try our best to get the right products for customers,” says Heistad. “We want them to come back. We want them to feel good about supporting local.”
The Co-op in Avonlea is more than a store; it's a community hub where local matters. With a commitment to excellent service, a diverse product range, and competitive pricing, the Avonlea Home & Agro location invites you to experience the difference firsthand. Get in touch today!
Give us a call (306) 868-2133.