Barrington teens find work at Heinen’s
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:43AM
BARRINGTON — After a long day of lectures and tests, many high school students come home from school ready to unwind.
But 16-year-old Will Scoby’s day has just begun. He has no time for relaxation because he still has to put in a five-hour work shift at his part-time job.
Many Barrington residents have been shopping at the town’s new grocery store, Heinen’s, ever since it opened two months ago. But what they may not realize is that there are many high school students among the new supermarket’s employees.
To many of these busy students, their jobs at Heinen’s are not a burden; they are a manageable and enjoyable way to spend their time after school.
In 1929, Joseph H. Heinen opened what was originally a butcher shop in Cleveland, Ohio. Heinen came from Germany to the U.S. through Ellis Island at 10 months old. Owning his own store was an important part of his life, which was why he wanted it to be more than just a butcher shop.
“He always had this vision when he was a butcher that he should carry other items so people didn’t have to go to these other stores,” said Tom Heinen, who now runs the family business with his brother Jeff. “He wanted to build more than just a butcher shop.”
Almost every one of Heinen’s stores is located in Cleveland, but the owners have recently been looking to expand into other areas. When Heinen’s opened in Barrington on Aug. 22, it became the first outside of Ohio.
Owners Jeff and Tom Heinen said Heinen’s offers a variety of high quality foods, featuring products with natural, organic or fresh ingredients. They receive all of their stores’ seafood overnight so that customers are buying it fresh.
If it is swimming today, it is in their stores tomorrow, Tom Heinen said.
“I think much like my grandfather, who chose to distinguish himself through the product he sold as being very high quality,” Tom Heinen said. “‘Never sell anything that you wouldn’t buy yourself’ was one of his guidelines.”
But to Tom Heinen, another important part of the business is its customer service. In Barrington, Heinen’s has focused on hiring a staff that boasts its same principle values.
“The first and foremost thing we look for is people that are passionate,” Tom Heinen said. “We want people who take their passion toward food and turn it toward serving others.”
A number of those passionate employees are Barrington teens.
Sixteen year olds Rachel Swanson and Will Scoby are just two of the 20 high school students currently working at Heinen’s. Heinen said he regards these student-employees as an important part of the staff.
“We think young people today do a fabulous job if you give them an opportunity,” Heinen said. “We’re attracted to their energy, their willingness to learn, and willingness to be a part of the team. They help us engage the customers and really understand their roles.”
These students enjoy their jobs because of the store’s friendly atmosphere and working conditions.
“I decided to work at Heinen’s because I wanted a good experience for my first job,” Swanson said. “It’s a really relaxed job and you can have fun while working.”
Heinen’s is an attractive work place for teens because the managers are flexible with schedules and are willing to let students work after-school hours. Students are able to choose how many hours per week they can manage, which has helped them stay on top of their work as well as their school world.
“They understand that school is more important than work,” Scoby said.
Scoby and Swanson also said that they feel respected and treated as equals among Heinen’s staff members and supervisors.
“Even though we went through training, every situation is new,” Swanson said. “Whenever we have questions or concerns when were confused about something, there is always an advisor to help us out when we need them to. There is always someone to talk to.”
Tom Heinen credits those positive employee relationships, and the food variety, for Heinen’s success.
“I think people like the quality of the food, the experience they’re getting and the interaction with our associates,” Heinen said. “It’s early to say but I would tell you that the Barrington customers seem to be excited about what they see in the store.”