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The name badge reads “Scott Muh­lestein Store Di­rec­tor,” but who is this smil­ing fel­low run­ning the show at Smith’s Food and Drug Payson?

Home­town guy. Grew up in Payson. Foot­ball, bas­ket­ball, and track at Payson High. LDS mis­sion to Char­lotte, North Carolina. Mar­ried, three girls and a boy, ages from 22 to 14. Can­cer sur­vivor. Started with Smith’s as a ju­nior in high school. Worked his way up from the ground floor, lit­er­ally. Used to get up at 4 a.m. to clean the floors in the store be­fore school. He’s now been with Smith’s 29 years and ad­mits “the most fun is work­ing with the peo­ple.”

There’s a good chance you’ve been in the Payson Smith’s Food and Drug. If not, you’ve prob­a­bly been in one of Smith’s’ 130+ stores that dot the in­ter­moun­tain west and south­west re­gions. Smith’s is a low price leader that prides it­self on great cus­tomer ser­vice. And truly, that cus­tomer ser­vice doesn’t get much bet­ter than at the Payson store, as they rank in the top 2% sys­tem wide, per cus­tomer sur­veys.

Muh­lestein ex­plains how he has been able to en­cour­age his team to pro­vide such a high level of cus­tomer ser­vice. “Set your pri­or­i­ties and what you want and coach them along to follow.” Quar­terly re­ports pro­vide data that help tar­get which depart­ment the store will work on, all based on what the cus­tomer wants. “Right now our fo­cused depart­ment is our Bak­ery depart­ment. We want to work on Friendly and Fresh,” Scott said.

Muh­lestein is most proud of his em­ploy­ees. “There are 14,000 cus­tomers who come through a week and there is no way I can take care of all of them my­self.” ”Ev­ery one of our em­ploy­ees is em­pow­ered to ‘make it right’ with the cus­tomer.”

“Mak­ing it right” ex­tends beyond the con­fines of the store as Smith’s Payson is very ac­tive in com­mu­nity events. The store has a Cul­tural Coun­cil com­prised of store as­so­ciates who make de­ci­sions on which events to support. Dur­ing the past few months one of the ac­tiv­i­ties that Smith’s has joined with the lo­cal com­mu­nity in sup­port­ing is Tuff For Tiff (face­­for­tiff). Tiffiney Dick­er­son of Payson, and daugh­ter of one of Scott’s team mem­bers, is bat­tling can­cer and many in the lo­cal com­mu­nity have chipped in to help with her med­i­cal ex­penses. Con­tri­bu­tions to Tuff For Tiff can be made at Moun­tain Amer­ica Credit Union in Payson.

When asked what he’d like Serve Daily read­ers to know about his team, Scott replied: “We’re here to take care of their needs and we want to pro­vide them a shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence that makes them want to re­turn. We want to make sure we have the prod­ucts they want when they come in our store. We want to make sure they know our peo­ple are great and that they can leave with a smile.”

The Smith’s Food and Drug in Payson is lo­cated at 632 South, 100 West, and is open ev­ery day from 6 a.m. to mid­night. 801-465-9213.

Steve Gray

Scott Muh­lestein, Store Di­rec­tor at the Smith’s Food and Drug in Payson.

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