Girl Power – in business and nutrition - could lift supermarkets

March 11, 2014

“Shadow” programs could help to recruit and develop students with retail and nutrition career aspirations.

We’re all familiar with young, smiling girls who eagerly hawk Girl Scout cookies, sometimes with their moms’ help.  Hard to resist for a few reasons:  we want to build the girls’ confidence, we’re cornered at work or at the local Little League game by mom, the Samoas and Tagalongs are just too good – or all of the above.

Turns out Girl Scout cookies sell at an $800 million annual pace, according to Fast Company.  And the girls represent a new wave of entrepreneurs in the making because they learn such lessons as goal setting, business ethics and money management.

Given the girls’ affinity for selling food, The Lempert Report suggests that supermarkets also tap into Girl Power with “shadow” programs at store-level.  On our minds is a way for middle-school girls approaching legal working age to “shadow” and apprentice store employees as they go through their workdays serving customers, stocking shelves, and seeing first-hand how a fast-paced business operates.

This could be a win-win:  Stores could recruit their next crop of workers from neighborhood schools and shopping families already known to them.  The girls could earn extra course credits, gain some helpful experience, and maybe develop an interest in the retail or food industries.  

In a more specialized way, supermarkets could develop “shadow” programs for high-school nutrition students with Registered Dietitians.  These would be targeted programs for mature students who appreciate what it means to eat smartly, and who might have career aspirations in this field to help others.  The right structured programs could deepen their interest and possibly earn students letters of referral for college admissions.  For retailers, the long-term recruitment advantages seem obvious to us at The Lempert Report.