I have had the opportunity to work in the grocery industry for nearly 11 years now and that time has been spent entirely on the real estate and construction service side of our company.  I joined the AFS team as an intern excited to learn as much as possible about the company and industry.  This was at the time when AFS was in the process of acquiring Albertson’s stores throughout most of Utah. This was an exciting time in our company as it introduced many new opportunities to learn, grow and progress as retailers.   

One of my favorite aspects of my career and role in the store development department is the ability to work with retailers as they plan to grow and enhance their business. Whether it is expanding a warehouse operation, remodeling an existing store or building a new store, there is a lot to consider, anticipate and plan. Large steps like this are often scary, exciting and just about every emotion in between, but more than anything they are necessary.  Growth and adjustment are necessary for us as a company and for each of us in our personal lives.   

In my personal life, I love all things involving bicycles!  I grew up racing BMX and still do.  As I look back on my time as a racer, I’ve come a long way from that first day when I showed up at the race track with my hand-me-down chrome Redline bike, not knowing anything about the sport. In racing there are so many small incremental movements and tactics that contribute to a successful race, from lane position to first, second and third-pedal efficiency, pumping, manualling and a myriad of turning strategies. These are all things that were somewhat foreign to me in the beginning but as I continued to refine my craft and hone my skillset, they became very effective tools to help me be more competitive and successful as a BMX racer.  Every time I enter the starting gate I must reassess and adjust my strategy depending on the competition and the environment. The competition is fierce and every person at the starting gate has earned the right to be there.  This reality has helped me over the years to develop a growth mindset and appreciate the ways competition helps me to better develop and grow.

I often admire our retailers for their courage and tenacity. They have courage to step into the unknown and make significant investments in their teams and business to be the very best versions of their business possible. They show tenacity to continue growing and competing amid a very competitive and challenging marketplace. These are the winning attributes that will make us all the very best versions of ourselves possible, no matter where we are in the AFS family. I believe our success as a company comes from our willingness to do hard things and rise up to the competition.  As a team we are unstoppable!  As we continue to hone our skills and master our craft, we will be ready to compete and apply those strategies that lead us to victory!

Jared Mitchell is the vice president of Market Development, Inc. and has worked at Associated Food Stores for 11 years.