This interview was conducted with someone who I personally admire due to his hard work and personal achievements. On February 22nd, I had the pleasure to interview Mr. Edgar Ramirez in his workplace. Ramirez is the CTown manager which is one of the most important Hispanic supermarkets in Reading, Pennsylvania. CTown is located 264 South 9th Street Reading, PA 19602, According to CTown Supermarkets.com The company was founded in 1975 and the aim of the company was to take advantage of economies of scale to minimize their costs and maximize their profits. Therefore, rather than gradually introducing stores one by one, the state was hit by a large number of C-Town store openings at one time. A simplified explanation of what economies of scale are is that the more output a store produces, the lower their costs are per unit. For example, producing one bag of rice might cost $1, but producing 10 will cost the company $0.50 each.
Currently, there are approximately 200 stores open in the following areas combined: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. As a result of the large number of stores in a confined area, it is the 5th largest store in the New York metropolitan area. While C-Town does sell popular national brands, it has a wide selection of its own brand products called Krasdale.
The packaging of these products does not have the usual cheap packaging found on other store-brand products; it could easily pass for a more expensive branded product. An Abundance of fresh produce including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that meet the needs of even the strictest vegetarians are sold at CTown supermarkets. Meanwhile the meat section, always fresh with top-choice healthy cuts, offers freshly caught seafood and fine beef, pork, and poultry. Without forgetting the Hispanic food that we are characterize for.
Charismatic, compassionate, hard worker and determinate are words that best describe Mr. Ramirez. A 26- years old, a father of one, belongs to the associated supermarkets. As is country of origin the Dominican Republic is characterized to have good baseball players, he loves to play Beisbol and meet new people. He graduated from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
I met Mr. Edgar Ramirez four years ago and it was a pleasure to me to meet such as amazing and charismatic person. Ramirez is originally from the Dominican Republic; he came to the United States when he was 18 years old searching for opportunities that in his country of origin did not have. Edgar came with a tourism visa without knowing that he will be felt in love with the USA, for this reason he decided to stay in the country.
He went through a hard time because he did not know how to speak English and couldn’t get a good pay job due to his immigration status. Two years later he met who now is his wife Mrs. Raysa Ramirez for which he could make an adjustment of status and he finally became “permanent resident”.
Through a friend who worked at CTown supermarket, he started working as product line, where he had to organize the liquids line of the supermarket. Due to his charismatic personality and leadership, he was promoted as line supervisor in which he had to make sure that all the lines were filled and train the new workers which started in that position. After that he resigned his job because he found a better a one. So, he started to work at Ashely furniture in which he spent around six months. In that time the owner of the CTown supermarket called Ramirez and asked him to come back to the CTown because he needed him to become the new manager of the supermarket.
1.What is the most difficult thing that has happened to you?
Ramirez: I believe it was when I came to the United States, since I came without my family and without know any English. So, I had to learn a new language and adapt to a new country.
2. Describe a typical workday
Ramirez: My workday involves train employees, supervise that everything looks good in the supermarket. Also, must write a very day report of how much money the supermarket sold and what products are need it.
3. What skills are necessary to be a manager?
Ramirez: The main skills a manager must have are compassion, be open mind, habilitated to communicate and leadership.
4.What are your strengths in your current position?
Ramirez: I am open-mind, compassionate and I always make sure that my employees feel good by talking with my employees about work and personal stuff.
5. What are your weaknesses in your current position?
Ramirez: Since I am a social person and compassionate. I have emotional and personal attachments with my employees, which it is also my strength.
6. What is the biggest obstacle you face in your position?
Ramirez: The biggest obstacle I have face in my position is with the language. Even though I am bilingual there is some terms in English that I am still learning.
7. How do you motivate your employees?
Ramirez: I personally like to give feedbacks to my employees. I talk to them a lot and give them advice in every aspect.
8- Let’s talk about how method used initially CTwon to go internationally, can you talk a little bit about it?
Ramirez: As you know, CTwon is primary focus on Hispanic food. So, we initially go internationally by selling Hispanic food to our Hispanic community.
9- How CTwon participate in the international market currently and in what countries does the supermarket do business?
Ramirez: The supermarket participates in the international market by the importation of food across many countries such as: Colombia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
10- Does the company use different entry modes in different markets? What influenced the choice of entry mode?
Ramirez: We primarily use importation and exportation; this is influenced by the customers variety that we have.
11- How does the company receive payment for its goods?
Ramirez: We receive payments in cash, credit cards and checks.
12- Does the company have any type of TQM program or any type of ISO certification?
Ramirez: CTwon uses TQM to generate profit by hiring employees with experience and skills needed that push the company to grow in many ways.
13- How have cultural differences affected the decisions of this business as it pursues international opportunities?
Ramirez: Cultural differences affects businesses decisions due to lack of communication. If some countries have conflicts and there is not communication between them, I can guaranty that they will never negotiate.
14- Has local culture ever required the company to alter its personnel or corporate practices?
Ramirez: Since the majority of our customers are Hispanics, we request that our employees speak, read and write in Spanish, so they can be able to read labels that comes from different countries.
15- How do managers deal with cultural differences when negotiating across cultures?
Ramirez: We deal with cultural differences based on respecting ideas and believes of each culture, the exchange of goods and communication.
16-What is the best advice you can give as a business student?
Ramirez: First to never give up. Find something that motives you to achieve your objectives. Take the risk, I know it sounds scary, but somethings are the best way to go and meet people from everywhere, trust me I got this job because the people that I met.
I enjoy interviewing Mr. Edgar Ramirez, listening to this incredible and hard-working person is just a life changing. In his workplace everyone is very respectful, I observed him training a new employee and I could notice how passionate and how much he enjoyed working in there. Even though he works a lot is something that he doesn’t have to force himself to do it.
I love to see as a Hispanic how the Latino community has grown in this country. It makes so proud, and it inspires me heard histories like Mr. Ramirez. He gave me a lesson and it is that it doesn’t matter where or who you can come from, if you fight for it you can have it.