RD Close-up: Yvette Waters, MS, RDN, CISSN at Raley’s
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Please describe your role at Raley’s.
I am the Nutrition Strategist and Brand Influencer for all Raley’s banners. I work closely with teams to provide insight on nutrition content, messaging, and product assortment while continuing forward with our mission -- Infusing life with health & happiness by changing the way to world eats, one plate at a time. I aid in driving nutrition strategies through employee and consumer engagement, work with internal partnerships and merchandising of products, marketing, social media, and community outreach.
What's the story behind your experience in retail?
I was hired on by Raley’s last March as the Wellness Curator for the new concept store Market 5-ONE-5. The name is the guardrail for the brand, the first 5 is for the five senses (taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell), the O.N.E. is an acronym for Organics Nutrition Education, and the last 5 are for the five essential nutrients of life (protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins/minerals, and water). Technically, there are six essential nutrients, but we grouped it into five for the name.
I helped design the grocery and dairy product assortment while building out the ingredient ban list and developed the core and continuing nutrition curriculum, then conducted the onboard training and educations. Although Raley’s owns Market 5-ONE-5, it is considered a sister company and was treated like a startup. We designed all the processes, used a completely different POS system and the assortment including food service is completely different and unique to the store(s). When the store opened in May, I worked as the merchant for grocery and dairy, oversaw the nutrition education, and conducted day to day store management operations.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
The main thing that held me back at first was not fully understanding the retail industry. When I began working for Market 5-ONE-5 I was the quiet one in the back because I didn’t quite know what to say and didn’t want to sound ignorant. I had just moved to a new town where everyone knew each other and came from retail, and I didn’t know anyone and came from something completely different. I decided to just get to work. I focused on learning as much as I could about the products and how to be a merchant and all the jargon that came along with it, while having confidence in providing insight of what I did know and love, health and wellness. Now looking back, I have learned so much and excited about continuing to learn more in my new position.
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward?
The main facet that has helped me to move forward in this career path has been the team at Raley’s and my passion in wanting to help individuals “find their healthy” on the largest scale I can. I am now part of the marketing team which has been awesome; my coworkers are supportive and have a strong passion for working for this company and our mission. Raley’s has been a family owned company since 1935 and continually strives to progress forward and support the community. It is huge to work in an environment that is encouraging and willing to collaborate with each other and others to spread the message and help educate.
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
For myself it has been starting a company from the ground up. I was able to develop a multifaceted skill set and knowledge base of what goes into the retail industry. I initially worked out of the corporate office while they were doing construction on the building, this allowed for me to create an understanding of the internal communications side and vendor set up. When opening the store, we got to work on building the metro shelving, stocking the shelves, conducting inventory management, running a team, creating processes, and aiding instore operations. This provided me the skills and insight needed to best support both internal and external communications, starting at the support center and streamlining it down to a multi-instore level.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
I am very proud of Market 5-ONE-5 as a whole. The first store opened in May and to see it move from just me and three other guys squished in a tiny corner office working on laptops to being a successful store with amazing employees and works to opening several more stores was amazing. I am excited to still be a part of this project.
Transitioning into my new role, I am extremely excited for all our initiatives and projects that we have underway. We are focusing on increasing nutrition education and product transparency for our team members and community; the opportunities are vast!