Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011
The Road to Palm Springs
Laura Shapira Karet
As part of the fourth generation in the Giant Eagle family, Laura Shapira Karet is quite comfortable in a top management role, setting day-to-day priorities and crafting a new culture for team members to thrive. She attributes Giant Eagle’s success to the fact that the five families that founded the company in 1931 continue to own, operate and expand it today.
As a chain of more than 200 grocery stores, the company’s basic strategy has been to identify a formula that works and replicate it. The strategic twist for Giant Eagle was the added complexity of a multi-format retailer, which the company views as a strategic advantage. Offering expanded conveniences for busy families, some of the in store services include banking, dry cleaning, and a supervised learning center for customers.
Giant Eagle constantly experiments with new technologies to influence and affect the way customers shop as part of its fundamental goal of always providing better service.
The challenge facing the company today in pursuit of continuous reinvention is maintaining the spirit of entrepreneurialism that brought them to where they are. The task at hand is redefining “invention” in the context of a big company that has more than 33,000 employees and continues to grow.
To that end, the DNA of the company is one where employees are looking to the future and setting “unrealistic” goals. The idea is to focus on what may be possible and then find creative ways to make it happen.