CJ 222: News Reporting & Writing
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Dropping out of the Chippewa Valley Technical College was a big decision for Shugarts.
Shugarts works at Festival Foods in Eau Claire
By Chris Flores
He is not just the employee who asks whether you want paper or plastic. For Bobby Shugarts, working at a grocery store is not just a job, it’s a major part of his life.
“Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one,” he said.
Shugarts is 25 years old and was born and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and graduated high school in 2004 at Memorial High School. After graduation, he decided to go to the Chippewa Valley Technical College. While doing his school work, Shugarts started working at Ron’s Castle Foods to help pay for college life. In 2005, he decided to apply for a different grocery store to gain working experience. The grocery store he applied to was Festival Foods, which just opened in Eau Claire in 2003. Shugarts got hired immediately, and said he stuck with Festival because he liked their values and ethics.
According to Shugarts, he was working full time at Festival Foods while being a full-time student at CVTC. After one and a half years of school, he had another big decision to make. He decided to stop going to college but continue working full time at Festival. The problem was he could not keep up with his school work because he was working so much at the grocery story.
“I was initially very afraid what my parents were going to say, but they said they supported my decision and were going to back me up,” he said.
Shugarts knew that if he continued school, he most likely wouldn’t have been able to advance his roles at Festival. He figured he wouldn’t be able to focus on school and excel at Festival at the same time.
According to his parents, Shugarts went above and beyond the expectation of him while he worked at Festival. He working extra-long hours, picked up shifts, was always on time, and didn’t hesitate to do what he was told. These are the main reasons as to way he got promoted up the ranks of Festival so fast. According to Shugarts, he started his job at Festival by working as a cashier, and eventually by going up the ranks, he became the shift manager.
“As a shift manager, I have to watch over the entire store, help out where needed, and make sure we are fitting the store standards and taking care of customer needs,” Shugarts said.
Shugarts said working at festival has changed his life. He said that Festival has helped him professionally by gaining experience with many different job responsibilities. Shugarts said that his family and friends are important for him and he would do anything for them, which is exactly how some of his fellow employees thought of him.
“Bobby is everyone’s friend at Festival,” said Festival Foods service counter employee Nolan Dettmann. “He is very helpful when you need him and really cares about each customer and employee in a personal way.”
According to Shugarts and employees, Shugarts has been working at Festival Foods for a total of five and a half years and counting, and enjoys it a lot. As far as an occupation for the future, Shugarts said his future goal is to be a store manager someday, not only because he would make six figures, but also because he would enjoy running a store. He said his relationship with his store manager right now is great. Shugarts said going back to school at CVTC is always an option for the future as well.
Besides working at Festival, Shugarts enjoys Frisbee golfing, playing video games, watching sports, and spending time with friends. His roommates and good friends had mostly positive things to say about Shugarts.
“Bobby is a really nice guy and is helpful,” roommate Matt Larson said. “The only thing that is too bad about him is that he works so much at Festival that we don’t really get to spend time with him anymore.”
Longtime Festival Foods customer and friend, Adam Smith, said that Shugarts is a great person in general.
“Bobby is a really great friend. He really cares about everyone’s well-being and wants everyone to be happy in life,” Smith said. “From offering to drive you around town or lending you money, Bobby is very kind.”
Updated: December 6, 2010 | Comments firstname.lastname@example.org