Love and Football: Bill Price on Super Bowls and Super Team Members 

Those who know me best will not be at all surprised by one of the leaders who has inspired me in my life and career.  

Dick Vermeil coached in the National Football League for 15 years and was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Prior to being inducted to the Hall of Fame, I would surmise that his greatest accomplishment was leading MY RAMS to a Superbowl Championship.  

What he said in the post-game locker room speech I will never forget. He said, “The basic principles that it takes to win will never change…You surround yourself with good people, work hard and be unselfish, care and don’t be embarrassed to say I love you and appreciate you, cuz guys if you say it someone will say it back.”   

Now saying “I love you” isn’t common phraseology in the workplace but Associated Food Stores isn’t common. I love the team I work with every day. We have enjoyed success as a “One Associated Team” because we work hard, we are unselfish and we care.  It wasn’t easy for MY RAMS to get from bottom of the NFC West to the top. Nor has it been easy for AFS. The last couple of years have been very challenging; the pandemic caused an unforeseeable disruption in how we procure product, how we fill our stores, how we go to business…how we live our lives.  

I have heard it said that “the past is a place of reference not a place of residence.” We can reference the past and see the strength we have within ourselves to come together as a team to do hard things. The next couple of years may have similar circumstances. We still have supply issues. We certainly have economic uncertainty and perhaps more unforeseen events like those of the past month. These challenges we face with broken hearts. But, as Bob would say, “we got this!”  

To conclude, let me share one last sports quote from UCLA Coach John Wooden, who won 10 NCAA men’s basketball championships in 12 seasons (including 7 in a row). He told his teams, “Perform your best when your best is required.” Your best is required. I know your best is what we get from each member of this amazing team.  

I love Associated Food Stores. I love our retailers and I love and appreciate each one of you.  

– Bill Price 

Bill is the vice president of fresh sales and merchandising and has worked at Associated Food Stores for more than 25 years. He is pictured above with his family. (Back row, sunglasses, proud father.)