November 29, 2013
John Eckrich 500px
John Eckrich​

Over the last 50 years, John Eckrich has stayed true to the grocery business and serving customers and other associates. That hasn’t changed since the day he started in 1963 bagging groceries.

“Back in those days, you started as a bagger. They didn’t hire above a bagger,” he said.

Today Eckrich is manager of analytical insight support for Bi-Lo Holdings. Over the years since his first day on the job, he’s risen to that level without technically ever changing companies –but the companies for which he’s worked have changed during that time.

He began with Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Penn., in one of the chain’s first stores. Giant was purchased by Ahold, the same company that previously purchased BI-LO. He worked as an assistant produce manager, produce manager, assistant store manager and then store manager of five different stores. By 1980, he’d moved to Giant’s corporate office, where he developed, and then managed, the chain’s labor scheduling department. The role featured computerization, new to scheduling at the time.

In 1997, Ahold asked if he wanted to do the same job for BI-LO, and he moved to Greenville, S.C. to work in the BI-LO headquarters. BI-LO became part of BI-LO, LLC in 2005.

He’s still working with technology scheduling, which is more advanced than when he helped pioneer it more than 32 years ago. The most striking difference between today’s grocery business and when he began has been the advances in technology.

“There has been a multitude of changes that I’ve seen. But I think the biggest change has been the implementation of computers more and more,” he said.

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