A new face has been walking the aisles at Maynard’s in De Smet. His name is Bob Blaha, and he’s the store’s new manager. He has been there for two months and said he enjoys the many challenges that come with the job, but most of all, helping customers.
Blaha says the store in De Smet is Maynard’s flagship and the number one store they have, and he would like to keep it that way. Eric Olsem, who is now the Area Supervisor for Maynard’s, has set the bar high in De Smet, and Blaha plans to meet or exceed previous expectations. He finds it rewarding to work with his fellow employees at Maynard’s. He also enjoys working with the friendly people in the community and learning new things.
With a new job comes many challenges. Blaha said his number one challenge now is hiring personnel to fill the available openings. Filling the positions would allow them to return their hours of operations back to normal and also be able to deliver orders on Tuesdays. Unfortunately, that is a problem almost every business in America is experiencing right now.
One of the jobs that Blaha held before Maynard’s was as manager for Lowe’s in Omaha, Neb. One difference he mentioned between the two jobs is that a lawnmower never goes out of date, and in a grocery store, it’s all about stock rotation and keeping the shelves stocked.
Another difference he has noted between the two stores is ordering. At Lowe’s you order some stock, and it shows up. At a grocery store, you might place an order for 700 units of something and only receive 400-500 units of what you ordered.
COVID has also affected grocery distribution in many ways, including warehouse stock, deliveries and difficulties with the manufacturers.
Blaha grew up in Bellevue, Neb., graduating from Bellevue East High School in 1989. He became a Marine, stationed at Panama, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. After three years in the Marines, he became a deputy sheriff.
Following that, Blaha worked at several jobs such as manufacturing construction and delivering Kraft products to grocery stores. He then worked for Pepsi and Nestle, as a manager for Lowe’s in Omaha, Neb., and for a flooring company.
While fishing in Webster with his girlfriend, Audrey, they decided to move to South Dakota. They found a place in De Smet, moved here, and shortly thereafter, he saw the job posting for the manager at Maynard’s. The rest is history.
Blaha enjoys woodworking, construction, making things, hunting, but says he loves fishing and even has a boat. He has three children, ages 18, 22 and 24, who still reside in Nebraska.
“Everybody in the community has welcomed me,” said Blaha. “Everybody's nice and great, and, you know, I really love Nebraska, but in the few times we moved, we bought a house up here in January. Since that time was like South Dakota is so much better than Nebraska. So, we really enjoy it up here and are having a great time.”
“What would you like to see at Maynard’s?” asked Blaha of the community. “Let me know. You can put it on Facebook. You can come into the store. If we get enough responses, we'll get it in here and get shelf space for it. So, if there's something we're missing, let us know.”
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