There is no time frame mentioned for this anecdote but Spinneys Group CEO, Michael Wright, brought it up in an interview with Arabian Business:
It’s three o’clock in the morning, and a freak rainstorm is in danger of washing a Beirut supermarket — and its contents — down the street and into the Mediterranean. Flood water is overwhelming the pumps, and in a matter of minutes the basement level of the store will be more akin to a reservoir than a retail outlet. Panicked staff and watchmen agree on one thing: it’s time to call the boss.
“I got a call and rushed down; it was chaos,” recalls Michael Wright, smiling at the memory. “The whole store was in danger of floating down the street if we didn’t get another pump working. I took a jackhammer, and smashed straight though the floor in the middle of the store, to make a hole so we could put an extra pump in. I guess you could call it micromanaging, but then who else but the boss would be prepared to jackhammer through the middle of a $12m shop?”
Who knew? Thankfully, that has not discouraged Spinneys from further investments in the country:
…further down the line, the retailer is examining the feasibility of offering online shopping in Lebanon.
“So many have tried around the world, and so many have failed,” Wright cautions. “You have to be very specific and you can only manage it in small communities where it can be really worthwhile.
“We believe we can do it when we have a few more stores in certain areas — Beirut, for example – but it’s probably two years down the road,” he continues. “It will be very localised, and taken store by store.”
But of course, there is the well-known and publicized problem in Lebanon:
According to Wright the relatively slow speed of the internet in Lebanon, coupled with the fact that “trying to find a house in the first place can be a nightmare in this part of the world”, means online shopping will never form a significant component of the Spinneys Group business model.
Nice to see a CEO that is willing to get his hands dirty with a little DIY work, though.