E-Z Mart Pursuing Upgrades to Stores, Products

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, May. 26, 2014 12:00 am  

Sonja Hubbard took the reins of E-Z Mart after the 1998 death of her father, Jim Yates, the company’s founder. She has learned to trust herself and her decisions. | (Photo by Martin Patterson)

In addition, the company was in the middle of some big changes when Jim Yates died.

“We had two large acquisitions that included a lot of leverage,” Hubbard said. “At the same time, things economically turned down nationwide. And we went through a very difficult time.”

She knew that E-Z Mart had to close stores, a lot of stores, or the company faced disaster. It went from more than 500 locations to its current level of about 300.

Hubbard is proud of her decision-making — now. “If I had anything to do over, I would have done that faster.”

She is still learning. Hubbard is a fixer who knows she can’t fix everything. “Sometimes I try too hard,” she said. Some fights are futile. “The trick is knowing when to quit and when to carry on. Learning to ‘succeed sooner by failing faster’ is something I continue to learn.”

Although Hubbard’s 27-year-old daughter has no plans to join the business, Stacy’s children have expressed interest. Hubbard’s 19-year-old niece and 14-year-old nephew have their eyes on a future at E-Z Mart, and Hubbard thinks there’s talent and appreciation in the third generation. They understand the struggle.

But that’s some time off. For now, Hubbard loves her job, and she admires her employees. “It’s just amazing, how much they care,” she said. “I love them not knowing who I am and hearing them talk to their customers and call them by name.”

“They renew my energy for what I do.”



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