Nice to Meat Ya: Danny Harris
More than a meat manager
Danny Harris can be hard to get ahold of. Like clockwork, his phone rings so often you’d think movie star instead of meat manager.
He takes it all in stride though, happy to provide advice, answer questions or simply exchange pleasantries with whoever’s on the other end.
He did the same with me, explaining that he may get interrupted a time or two. It was true, but didn’t matter. Get the Alabama native talking about meat and he’s all in. Focused, intentional, it would take a lot more than a phone call to pull him away from his passion.
Danny is the meat department and seafood manager for Piggly Wiggly store 269 in Birmingham, Ala. If there was ever any question, those phone calls are indicative of the time and energy he puts into his work. Planning and preparing for the job before his store was even open, he’s spent the last seven and a half years since developing the ideal environment to market meat.
“When I make a schedule, I put myself in the mix,” he says, unintentionally providing insight into why his team works so well together and why the store boasts high volume sales.
More than 30 years into a satisfying vocation, it wasn’t the original plan for a 16-year-old boy who applied for a summer job at a local grocery store. Danny just never left.
“I thought it would be, ya know, pushing buggies and taking in bottles. They did bottle returns then!”
But soon after, he was approached about a position in the meat department and, unbeknownst to him, introduced to his lifelong career.
“They hired me and said if anyone asks, you’re 18. That was 30-something years ago so I can let the cat out of the bag now,” he says with a laugh.
He’s since left that first store, but carried with him lessons and tricks of the trade to pass on to younger guys looking to make a career in meat.
Danny’s the first one to the store each morning. At 5 a.m. he flips the light switch on to a new day.
It’s checking coolers, ordering product, marking prices and training people. Mornings are spent pulling the case and refilling it, setting a cutting list and breaking down shipments. It’s cutting the right pieces at just the right angle, answering questions and fulfilling dinner plans.
For Danny, it’s fun.
“In meat, there’s always something to do,” he says. “It could be taking a grinder apart and cleaning it from end to end, it could be cleaning the cooler, stacking the freezer. Work’s really never ending.”
From the outside looking in, Danny doesn’t seem to mind. He teaches and educates behind the scenes, simultaneously advocating out front.
“To me the service case is the most important case in the store. If that’s not right, if that’s not the most beautiful part, it doesn’t matter what you do with everything else.”
Except when it comes to product. That’s why Danny’s such an advocate for the brand.
“There can be a lot of integrity in this business,” he says. “I think that’s where CAB is. They’re at the forefront of integrity.”
It’s guys like Danny who carry that integrity to the people. We’re glad to have him on the team.
Thanks for allowing me to tell your story,
PS–Want to read this whole series? Here are the links:
- Introduction: Nice to Meat Ya
- Day 1: Ashley Pado
- Day 2: Scott Redden
- Day 3: Jesse Stucky
- Day 4: Bridget Wasser
- Day 5: Amanda Barstow
- Day 6: Josh Moore
- Day 7: Ruth Ammon
- Day 8: Bill Tackett
- Day 9: Dan Chase
- Day 10: Danielle Foster
- Day 11: Eric Mihaly
- Day 12: Jennifer Kiko
- Day 13: Mark Morgan
- Day 14: Meg and Matt Groves
- Day 15: Rod Kamph
- Day 16: Jonnie Schreffler
- Day 17: Brent Eichar
- Day 18: Alberto Diaz
- Day 19: Larry Kuehn
- Day 20: Bob Boliantz
- Day 21: David Livingston