Springfield, MO

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2013 Men of the Year Honoree: Erick Taylor

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Pyramid Foods President and CEO Erick Taylor has a simple philosophy borne of his upbringing in the grocery business.

“Let’s get it done together,” he says.

The attitude applies to all of Taylor’s endeavors, whether it’s including the staff of newly acquired stores in his chain’s employee-ownership plan, rallying public support around zoning issues or pulling in sponsors for the Price Cutter Charity Championship golf tournament.

Taylor says he believes in rolling up his shirtsleeves and getting things done. He says that approach engenders a respect from those around him that inspires them to achieve their potential and ensures continued success.

The 48-year-old Springfield native is a longtime proponent of locally owned businesses and efforts to revitalize downtown. This year, he added his voice to others who questioned the impact of a proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market presence on businesses in downtown Springfield.

“I believe it stimulated important conversation,” he says. “It helped bring attention to how it would threaten the economic health of the area.”

In 2012, Price Cutter parent company Pyramid Foods relocated its corporate offices to Rogersville from Springfield and acquired Summer Fresh Supermarkets Inc. Taylor says Summer Fresh helped solidify Pyramid Foods’ rural Ozarks footprint by adding 10 stores in outlying towns. The acquisition bolstered the chain’s total store count to 56 throughout Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, including  the Ramey’s, Smitty’s and Food Pyramid brands.

Taylor is no stranger to a frenetic pace. His success is built on the connectivity of hands-on leadership, extending from the “get it done together” Pyramid Foods corporate culture to his service as president of the Missouri Grocers Association and board member with Associated Wholesale Grocers. He says his brand of leadership is inherent to an industry known for promoting within and offering growth opportunities for everyone, even part-time grocery baggers – a profession Taylor knows a thing or two about, starting as a bagger in the family business at age 16.

“I take great satisfaction in the fact that many of our associates currently holding leadership positions began their careers with us as students who served as baggers, stockers or cashiers,” he says.

That close-knit patronage goes hand-in-hand with Taylor’s proudest accomplishment – the employee stock ownership plan that transferred 100 percent of the company’s stock to the employees of Pyramid Foods. For both he and the company’s thousands of associates, it was a giant step.

“Each associate knew then – no matter what role they held – that we were all in this together,” he says. “We shared in both the risks of capital ownership and the company’s success and growth.”

It was a big realization for some, he says, that they could affect outcomes beyond their specific duties.

“What they did each day, how well they bagged groceries, stocked shelves or decorated cakes – it mattered,” Taylor says. “Not just to their supervisor or senior staff but to the overall success of the organization.”

As proof of attitude in action, Taylor points to Pyramid Foods’ corporate culture.

“I continually strive to limit any barriers that would impede the successful execution of inspiration,” he says. “That environment brings out the best in our associates.”[[In-content Ad]]


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