Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers

www.naturalgrocers.com
Engaged Employer

Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers Reviews

Updated July 28, 2015
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2.9
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Kemper Isely
65 Ratings

Pros
  • Good employee discount, and I loved the thought that I would be helping make a difference in the organic/natural foods area (in 14 reviews)

  • Good benefits, good employee discount, good people to work with (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Recent (positive) additions to the home office staff didn't even make it a year before leaving due to the chaos (in 16 reviews)

  • Store managers usually last a year or so and most always hire from the outside for those positions (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

133 Employee Reviews

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  1. Natural Grocers

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tyler, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Tyler, TX

    I have been working at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Nice place to work. great working environment.

    Cons

    did not find any negatives till date.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Not the worst by far, just annoying

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Store Support, Cashier in Wichita, KS
    Current Employee - Store Support, Cashier in Wichita, KS

    I have been working at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits, PTO, family like atmosphere, continued education and training

    Cons

    Upper management doesn't have a clue

    Advice to Management

    Like seriously. If 3 store managers quit within a year and a turnover of 3 regionally follow... Wouldn't you wonder what's the common denominator, Liz?


  3. Helpful (3)

    Visionary company with kinks to work out

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Nutritional Health Coach in Edmond, OK
    Former Employee - Nutritional Health Coach in Edmond, OK

    I worked at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Keeping in mind that each store operates under its own management who, although they report to corporate ultimately (and the various regional managers in between), each have their own strengths and weaknesses and therefore not everyone's experience will be the same, at least on the store level: 1) Top notch health plan (even better than the one I'd had previously at a hospital I was employed by - which says something I think). 2) Fair and reasonable store managers. 3) One of the highest employee discounts in the business. 4) "Birthday pay" where you get a paid day off for your birthday, or you can work on it and still get 8 hours of pay on top of that. 5) Monthly continuing nutrition education in the form of "hotline" meetings. 6) NHCs get excellent support from regional managers and the nutrition education department at corporate. It's a great team they have put together to help you learn. I learned more from them in my few months of employment there than in my entire college career earning a 4 year degree in nutritional sciences. 7) Excellent coworkers with a real family environment. 8) NHCs have the ability to do a lot of networking, which can lead to some great opportunities if they ever want to move onward and upward somewhere else.

    Cons

    With the same caveat as above: 1) Stores are run with as few employees as it takes to get the job done, which makes for significant stress and high burnout rates. I personally watched the store manager and assistant manager work 80 hour weeks for months on end to fill in the gaps they were not allowed to hire to cover. 2) Nutritional Health Coaches have very strange schedules - 2 days of the week are "floor days" as vitamin dept. support staff, and 3 days a week are "NHC days" where you conduct seminars, network in the community, and conduct coaching sessions, etc. 3) Entry-level pay, even for NHCs who have been in the nutrition business for a while. I think the training is worth a lot, but for NHCs who really focus and learn and get really good at their job, they recognize that the raises (~$0.50/hr a year) are minuscule compared to what they could earn if they took those skills somewhere else. 4) The corporate office is climbing a steep learning curve as they struggle with what it takes to make it as a publicly traded company. This leads to missteps and missed opportunities in some cases. 5) The charge of nepotism has been made in other reviews, and unfortunately it is unavoidable in a family company like this, but nonetheless true.

    Advice to Management

    Keep learning and growing and never get to the point when you think you know better and refuse to listen to the voices of experience. To that end, surround yourselves with others who have walked the road you are on before and can mentor you and give you guidance. Your company is truly leading the way in terms of product standards, so don't lose sight of that. The NHC program is great, but keep tinkering and finding ways to make it better and retain more highly qualified NHCs.


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  5. Cashier

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers

    Pros

    nice discounts, fun to learn about the products

    Cons

    not very well structured within the company


  6. Helpful (1)

    ZERO COMMON SENSE!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Store Support in Sedona, AZ
    Former Employee - Store Support in Sedona, AZ

    I worked at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The Vitabucks discount is helpful and there are some very nice, capable people on the floor, but........

    Cons

    With the exception of a few department managers (who are routinely taken advantage of, second guessed in every decision they make even though thats what they are paid to do, lied to, talked about behind their backs within earshot of other employees) the management is shockingly bad. So bad that very good employees would rather take less money than to have to cover up for the mistakes that occur at such a rapid pace that the department clerks are always behind the eight ball. The pay is not nearly enough to make up for the lack of competence that creates such a stressful environment and low morale. Complaints to the Human Resources offices by employees regarding their treatment my some managers is supposedly confidential. Hard to agree with that when the Corporate HR office calls to interview employees "discreetly" at work while they are on the clock, even at their register. What exactly is "discreet" or "confidential" about that. Which brings up the next point..... The Corporation. It appears blatantly clear that the HR people as well as regionals couldn't care less about their employees now that they are a publicly traded company. All that seems matter is cutting costs at the expense of employees.....Increase business by over 30% in a year, they cut your hours. Miss your monthly numbers by tenths of a point, despite record setting sales, how about a nice negative email to crush your morale. There is at this time a complete and utter lack of common sense regarding the treatment and development of employees, that it would be hard to imagine ANYONE having the patience to deal with it. They are losing the BEST of their crew by about 1 a week, and it is only going to get worse as the complacency of HR to ACTUALLY DEAL WITH this situation has turned those who were still hopeful for a great work environment totally against the store and it original concept. I believe the concept was to provide clean healthy food and supplements, while working to educate a community on the advantages of healthy mind and body. You couldn't convince me now.

    Advice to Management

    WAKE UP! That is if you really care about the people making it possible for these stores to stay open. This is a small town and word travels fast about who cares about their employees and who doesn't. And there are far less labor intensive and ignorantly run places who will pay the same slave wages that Natural Grocers pays. I recommend discontinuing your monthly hotline meetings and brain numbing corporate video montages because NOONE is buying it anymore. You also may want to consider a more discreet way to interview employees about their grievances, than at work, in the middle of the work day, with the very managers they have grievances with walking around them because they know what the call is about. There are NO SECRETS in this store. I would say work on developing the skills and the morale of the people you have that truly believe in your original mission, but that would take capable managers which are few and far between, and yes another one just quit.. It is only a matter of time before the term "class action" becomes a regular part of the Natural Grocers vocabulary.


  7. Helpful (4)

    missin the boat

    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    awesome, hard-working employees and management.

    Cons

    thinly staffed, stores. exhausted, unhappy staff

    Advice to Management

    dear isley's, you're losing awesome employees REGULARLY!!!! you think you're saving money by staffing your stores inadequately?? you're NOT!! you're building a reputation everyday....do you want to build a good one or a bad one?


  8. Helpful (1)

    McDonald's is a better work environment.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Healthy food selection, great customers, vitabucks. That's really about it.

    Cons

    Terrible leadership. Hotline meetings full of lies. Awful home office. Regional managers don't know the employee handbook. It's like working in a pressure cooker with how fast they're willing to fire people. Don't even think about talking to HR or a regional manager about issues at store level. Department managers are stuck on the registers instead of working on there department. All in all a terrible place to work. Avoid at all costs.

    Advice to Management

    Clean up. Fire all regional managers and director of operations. Hire more lawyers because if you continue to treat people like scum eventually it will catch up with you.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The Environment was great along with the Pay. The Benefits and the Hours were great. Above all the Coworkers were amazing.

    Cons

    Can't think of any cons for this position other than the fact that if you're a fast worker you run out of stuff to do since the store is on top of its game.

    Advice to Management

    I do not have any advice to the management at this moment other than to breathe and let the employees do their work.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Horrible, Just Horrible

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Department Manager
    Former Employee - Department Manager

    I worked at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Employee Discount and Vita Bucks are nice. Other Employees are great usually too!

    Cons

    Management doesn't have a clue what they are doing. The Schedule is NEVER rotated so you wont have a weekend or even a Sunday off unless your a part of the head management and they are your designated days. You can request days or Pto off, (months in advance) they wont approve them because there never is enough coverage in the store. Micromanagement. Favoritism, lack of teamwork.

    Advice to Management

    Maybe your company should learn how to make more of their employees happier rather than worrying opening 10+ more stores all over the US.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Make sure everyone has the same vibe.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great pay. Start off at $10/hr. Worked my way up to team leader/manager in less than a year. Nice to have a discount for natural/organic food and supplements.

    Cons

    Horrible work hours. Upper management doesn't really do anything. Always understaffed.



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