This week’s #TeamMemberTuesday is featuring Karla, Category Buyer for our Deli and Prepared Foods Department. Karla has been with Giant Eagle for more than 12 years and can’t imagine herself anywhere else. She spent most of those 12 years on the retail side of the business and recently moved into the corporate Merchandising Department. Her passion and dedication can’t be replicated, and we are thrilled to have her as part of the Giant Eagle family. Read more about Karla here.
Karla, Category Buyer at Giant Eagle
How did you come to work for Giant Eagle?
I started in 2006 as a Food Marketing Assistant at the South Hills Market District. I stayed in that position for about a year and then I moved on to become the Food Marketing Manager at the Shadyside Market District. I spent quite a few years in that role. I stayed at that store for about five years, but within that time I had the opportunity to move into Prepared Foods. I started running the Prepared Food Department. After some time, I moved to the Settlers Ridge Market District when it was going through a lot of transformation. That became the largest store in the Chain and Prepared Foods was really bustling. After that I received the opportunity to work in Merchandising for about a year. When the Company went through some restructuring, I moved back into Prepared Foods as a Specialist and did that for about two years. Most recently, I moved back into Merchandising as a Category Buyer, and I purchase mainly for the Deli.
Spending time in Merchandising has been a great opportunity to see how all that product gets into the stores. When I got to see the sourcing, I fell in love with the idea of doing some of the buying. Now that I’m buying, it’s even more gratifying to understand how the product gets to the store and how much processing it takes. It helps me to understand the entire process.
What do you love most about your current role?
One of the things I love about my current role is my supervisor, who oversees a group of Buyers, is so knowledgeable. She has been side by side with me. I feel extremely supported and the rest of the Buyers on my team are fantastic. Many of them have been doing this for some time and they are very willing to help me while I’m still learning. I don’t think you find that everywhere. This team is wonderful. It’s changed my life and when I go home at night, I feel refreshed. I’m learning new things every day.
What work are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of everything that I’ve accomplished, both professionally and personally. I’m a mom and Giant Eagle allows me to have the lifestyle that I want and need. I’m proud of everything.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about Giant Eagle?
I think there is still a stigma of what it means to work in our retail locations. I don’t think people realize how valuable and necessary that work is. In the stores, you are surrounded by food all the time and it’s so much fun. We have wonderful people at the store-level and those jobs are as important as any other job in the Company. Being in the retail business and being on the front-lines is important work. There are big benefits of working in the stores that I don’t think people realize how great they are.
“One of the things I love about my current role is my supervisor, who oversees a group of Buyers, is so knowledgeable. She has been side by side with me. I feel extremely supported and the rest of the Buyers on my team are fantastic. Many of them have been doing this for some time and they are very willing to help me while I’m still learning. I don’t think you find that everywhere.”