SALEM - It's all about the customer, Teri Hixson said.
She is the owner of Suburban Market at 667 Newgarden Avenue where the popular convenience store will hold a customer appreciation weekend Feb. 21-23.
A few minutes standing by the checkout counter makes it clear that, in this store, the customer is number one. Period.
The Suburban Market at 667 Newgarden Ave. will hold a customer appreciation weekend Feb. 21-23 with giveaways and treats. Owner Teri Hixson said she wanted to let customers know she can’t say enough “for the support and patronage I have received from everyone.” She bought the store in 2005 after some 20 years with Giant Eagle and Bob Evans. “Customer service was (and still is) a huge thing for me,” she said. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)
Fully aware of at least two nearby businesses that have recently closed, something Hixson called "scary," she decided, after nine solid years of ownership to let customers know that Suburban Market wants them back.
There are four part-time employees besides herself and Hixson said, "I am a people pleaser and have been in customer service my whole life, and was taught if the customer is happy, they will keep coming back.
"I probably cater to my customers too much," she said, "but they are what makes my business. Just like I tell my employees, 'I don't pay you, the customers do.'"
She took over Suburban Market on Feb. 21, 2005 after seven years at Giant Eagle stores and 13 years with Bob Evans.
"If it wasn't for my parents, I wouldn't be here," she said.
"They told me if anyone could make the store work it would be me."
They were right and with the support of her husband, Mike and their two kids, a steady stream of customers comes in the front door or pulls up to the drive-thru window which accounts for nearly half the sales.
"My son was seven months old when I bought the store," she said, "and my daughter was 12. So everyone has grown up with my kids ..."
Hixson put her education in food service to good use and Suburban Market is widely known for its homemade sauerkraut - it sold more than1,800 pounds during the holiday season.
A big feature is the large-variety deli counter with sandwiches, subs, Italian, macaroni and potato salads, pickled eggs, veggie soup and hot food Monday through Friday.
The interior walls show the Steelers, Browns and Salem school colors and, with kids in school, Hixson supports the band, and her son plays soccer, baseball and football.
"I try to sponsor the teams both of my kids played sports with, so I can be part (of) and also sponsor in the community."
Her staff, which she refers to as "my girls," are the backbone of Suburban Market.
"I couldn't do everything myself," she said.
"I tell my girls from the very beginning, they are what keep the customers coming back, and as long as the customers are happy they will have jobs. Point blank."
As an Ohio Lottery outlet, the Suburban Market has sold six Rolling Cash 5 jackpot winners in the nine years Hixson has owned it.
The last in June of 2013 and there was a May 2011 winning ticket bought at the store.
Suburban Market is open from 5:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday; from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday; and from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, call 330-337-7114.