We’re always thinking, sharing, and growing.

Apr

22

 

At a time when shoppers demand corporate transparency and social responsibility from their favorite brands, Premium provides an answer to a commonly asked question: “What happens to old assets and fixtures when they’re removed from retail stores?”  

It’s a topic that comes up routinely during category resets, new product introductions, and store remodels or transformations. And it’s easy to underestimate the sheer volume and environmental impact of assets when they are dispersed in stores across the country. 

When a brand or retailer refreshes their displays or technology, Premium loves the opportunity to facilitate recycling or upcycling efforts. Our expertise in this area evolved organically from client requests to retire outdated assets. The idea of simply discarding the material to landfills left our team uncomfortable 

“We always try to be resourceful and responsible to our community – it’s just who we are.” – Craig Merrifield, Senior Director of Logistics 

Premium’s commitment to integrity and eclipsing expectations.

Generally, the same Premium team that initially installed the display returns to the store to remove it. Depending on the level of complexity, Premium’s Level 2 merchandising team is called in to assist. Premium reps collaborate with retail associates at each store to prep the display for outbound shipping to Premium’s National Logistics and Distribution Center (NLDC) in St. Louis, Missouri.  

Our 2019 expansion to a new 130K+ square-foot facility increased our on-site storage capacity by 500% and enabled increased sustainability. Recently, we received more than 700 displays each within a wooden crate the size of a Smart car. We dismantled the displays, technology and containers down to their raw materials to move the various components back up the supply chain.

We are able to accommodate a wide range of recycling projects having established local partnerships with R2 (Responsible Recycling) and RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard) certified facilities.

Steel parts are cut into smaller pieces and melted down for use in creating new displays, appliances, or cars. Any glass components go straight to the glass recycling plant, as glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle without much travel. We also recycle all of the cardboard, compressing it into 750-pound bales before sending it to a local cardboard recycling plant for reuse. 

We break down electronic displays, separating processors, cables, cords, monitors and mice for the e-waste processing plant who will shred and recycle the various elements. We disassemble wood shelves, shipping crates, and pallets, removing and recycling nails and screws as we go. Ultimately, all unusable wood is shredded and turned in mulch for use locally. 

Reducing bulk is essential for efficient freight transportation. Polystyrene, the material commonly referred to as Styrofoam, is put into a shredder for reuse as loose packing in future shipments or is compressed into dense bricks. Manufacturers utilize these bricks to create recycled goods you can find back at retail. 

We especially love to repurpose assets creatively. Reusing is always the best option as it leverages all of the energy and materials that were needed to make the original product. For a recent project, we donated 700 sheets of plywood to local organizations. A portion will be used to create an interactive maze for kids and to shelter a community art project in downtown St. Louis.

After a client’s display was recently retired to accommodate a new product launch, Premium donated 70 computers and monitors to Best Buy Teen Tech Centers and other educational non-profits around the country as a part of the display recycling process.  

See inside St. Louis’ first-ever Best Buy Teen Tech Center.

 

What can you do?

Our actions support retailers’ own efforts to help mitigate waste coming out of retail stores. Still, these programs alone will not solve the monumental task of striving for sustainability within retail shopping. There are some easy actions you can implement today whether you are reading as an individual consumer or as a corporate employee with authority to impact sustainability decision-making.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Many brands have introduced product packaging made from recovered or recycled materials. However, if we don’t properly recycle, it likely still ends up in a landfill. If you aren’t already, make it a routine at work, home and on the go to recycle the bottles, cans, jars, cartons or boxes from all those CPG products we know and love. Rinse containers, crush cans, break down boxes, and put caps back on before tossing in the bin. Empty aerosol cans are even recyclable.

Use reusable bags.

On your next trip to Walmart or Target, drop off your used plastic bags at the in-store recycling kiosk. Better yet, keep a collection of sustainable bags in your car so you have easy access for your next grocery run. Target offers a 5-cent discount for every reusable bag you use.

Discard electronics the right way.

Due to COVID-19, Best Buy has temporarily suspended recycling services at their stores. Their robust electronics and appliances recycling program has collected and responsibly disposed of more than 1 billion pounds of e-waste (electronics and appliances), making them the largest retail collection program in the U.S.

Identify wellness icons.

Support Target’s efforts to introduce a chemical strategy addressing the entire value chain, operations and every product sold. From beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning product categories, Target introduced Wellness Icons to help shoppers easily identify environmentally conscious products on shelf and online.

Support sustainable brands.

Give kudos to brands participating in new concepts like Loop, a circular shopping platform developed by recycling company TerraCycle alongside Kroger and Walgreens. TerraCycle partners with major CPGs, retailers and manufacturers to divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators each month.  

We all need to be pushing sustainable practices forward. Reach out if you’d like to discuss what opportunities you have to divert your retail assets from landfills.

Apr

10

 

Updated as of April 17, 2020

Since March, Premium’s retail partners have faced unprecedented demand for in-stock products in response to the spread of COVID-19. The spotlight on the services Premium field employees execute every day became more critical than ever. We continue to shift resources to deliver the best scenarios for our employees and our clients. The well-being of our team members is Premium’s top priority, both in terms of health and financially. 

Today, Premium Retail Services owners and CEOs Brian and Kevin Travers announced they are forgoing compensation for the foreseeable future. Additionally, executive leadership throughout the Premium organization has taken voluntary pay reductions. Collectively, we are allocating these funds towards purchasing protective gear for frontline employees.

“History will show that as a country, a company, and as individuals, we rise to the challenge when times are difficult and we will come out stronger on the other side.” – Kevin Travers, Co-owner and CEO

As we have all no doubt experienced, hand sanitizer is nearly impossible to find. We explored a variety of avenues over the last several weeks and knew it would require resourcefulness to secure a bulk supply. Premium reached out to ShowMe Beverages, a Missouri-based distributor of craft beer, craft spirits, wine and non-alcohol products. They connected us with Missouri-based craft distilleries StilL 630 and Naked Spirits. Both of these incredible organizations are currently manufacturing hand sanitizer that is being used by a variety of frontline employees, including the St. Louis Metropolitan Police.

Premium received the sanitizer in bulk containers at our sanitary Clean Room within the National Logistics and Distribution Center. As of April 17, our fulfillment team has completed bottling, labeling, packing, and shipping to field employees.

Jan

13

Each year, Premium recognizes team members who’ve gone above and beyond through a few significant awards. Congratulations to our 2019 award nominees and winners for their outstanding representation of what it means to be Premium! Thank you for exemplifying Premium’s core beliefs of family, partnership, creativity, integrity, and eclipsing expectations. 

 

Emily NovakMarketing Specialist 

2019 Culture Hero Award 

New in 2019, the Culture Hero Award recognizes the efforts put forth by Premium’s Culture Team. Behind the scenes, the Culture Team cultivates relationships with Premium’s remote and office-based teams, focusing on employee engagement, recognition, and fun. Each year brings new Culture team members and new ideas, so the Culture Hero honors one Culture-er who jumped in with both feet and lived Premium’s core beliefs.

Premium’s first-ever Culture Hero is Emily Novak. Emily started as a recruiting intern in 2016 before transitioning to the marketing team in 2017. She is key to keeping the Premium community updated and overseeing Premium’s social media presence.

Emily’s hard work was instrumental in the Culture Team’s accomplishments in 2019. Culture Captain Sarah Wolfersberger said, “Emily demonstrates endless drive, passion, creativity and genuine investment in Premium’s Culture. She works tirelessly to meet deadlines and to ensure the success of culture initiatives while remaining kind and calm under pressure.”

 

Michael Taylor, Client Account Manager 

2019 Employee of the Year – Canada 

Winner of the Employee of the Year – Canada is Client Account Manager, Michael Taylor. Michael’s contributions have not gone unnoticed since he joined the Premium team in 2018. Known for his calm demeanor and efficient yet collaborative style, Michael never disappoints and consistently goes the extra mile (or kilometer) time and again.  

Sandy Clarke, Executive Vice President, explained, “Michael is loved by our clients and us. He understands clients’ needs, provides insights and solutions, and navigates our matrix organization well, all while delivering exceptional customer service.” 

Premium Canada donates $2,500 to the charity selected by the recipient of this award. Michael asked that the donation be made to Niagara Dog Rescue, the foster-based organization which he recently adopted his dog, Rascal, from.  

 

Debbie Dye, Payroll Manager  

2019 Employee of the Year – U.S. 

This year’s Employee of the Year  U.S. is Debbie Dye whose management of the payroll function has contributed significantly to the Premium family. When Debbie started at Premium in 2011, we had less than 3,000 employees. We’re closing out the decade with a 560% increase in W-2 employees.  

Jeff Schremp, Premium’s Chief Financial Officer, described Debbie as, “Reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable and hardworking. She does whatever is needed, whenever it’s needed.  She’s a kindhearted person with great patience. Under her leadership, the Payroll Department has evolved to meet the needs of a growing organization.”  

Over the years (and particularly in 2019), Debbie has worked tirelessly to ensure payroll is accurate and closed on time and monitors compliance with laws across the U.SDebbie is passionate about ensuring each Premium employee is paid, which is certainly something we can all cheer to! 

 

Mark Mori, Lenovo Training & Sales Specialist 

2019 Field Excellence Award Winner – U.S. 

Since 2017, Premium field leaders submit nominations for the Field Excellence Award. The Premium executive team votes to recognize one standout field team member for outstanding achievement, performance, personal interaction, and creativity. 

Mark joined the Premium family in 2016 and transitioned to his current position on the dedicated Lenovo team in June 2017. He is known for his enthusiasm, entering every store with a positive attitude and purpose. Mark doesn’t just work the minimum; he schedules himself every weekend to ensure he capitalizes on every possible sales opportunity. As a result, Mark has exceeded sales expectations for his market every single month this year!  

Todd Stephens of Lenovo said, “I was lucky enough to go out in the field with Mark. I left that field visit totally blown away by how he owns his market! Mark has amazing relationships in stores, his product knowledge is second to none, and most importantly, he is one of the BEST I have seen at working with customers.” 

 

Norman Tham, National Field Manager  

2019 Maple Leaf Award Winner – Canada 

The Maple Leaf award recognizes one individual on the Canada team that has demonstrated continual pursuit of excellence in performance, leadership, distinguished service, inspiration provided, and overall positive influence on the team.  

Norman’s manager Sandy Clarke, Executive Vice President said, “Norm continues to drive change and innovation for Premium in the field and online, as well as through gaming and social media platforms. These innovations have expanded our offerings to key clients in both Canada and the United States.” 

Premium Canada recognizes the Maple Leaf Award recipient by donating $2,500 to the charity of their choice. Norman selected Food4Kids – Hamilton which provides packages of healthy food for kids with limited or no access to food each weekend in Hamilton, Ontario. 

 

John Drevlow, Senior Director, Strategic Accounts 

2019 Founder’s Award 

Ron Travers founded Premium Retail Services in 1985 on a foundation of family, integrity, and service. After Ron passed in 2012, Brian and Kevin introduced The Founder’s Award to honor their father’s legacy, and it is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Premium employee. 

Kevin Travers spoke of his father at Premium’s 2019 holiday party. “He never missed an important event in our lives, never got off the phone without him saying that he loved you. He never compromised what he believed in for the easy path in life. He would do anything to help someone out in need. His life revolved around providing for his family, plain and simple.” 

This year’s Founder’s Award winner joined Premium after spending 13 years at Best Buy. He leads Premium’s Minneapolis office with a focus on teamwork and selflessness.  

From left: 2019 Founder’s Award winner John Drevlow is joined by 2017 winner Jim Malpiedi, CEO Kevin Travers, 2014 winner Jeff Schremp, 2018 winner Bill Campbell, 2016 winner Jessi Curtis, 2013 winner Olaf Strom and CEO Brian Travers. Nancy Wingate, 2015 Founder’s Award winner, is not pictured.

 

John is widely admired for his glass half full, “Buddy the Elf” positive outlook. He shows respect and appreciation to everyone around him, is always there to help others, and is levelheaded when situations arise.  

Kevin said, “Pilots use the acronym CAVU to describe desirable flying conditions. It means ‘Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited’ and I believe it describes John’s attitude perfectly.” 

Premium recognizes the Founders Award recipient by donating $10,000 to the charity of their choice. John selected First Lutheran Church in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.  

Congratulations again to all of our 2019 award nominees and winners! For our full wrap-up of 2019, read Premium’s Year in Review.