BELLVILLE — The newest member of the Bellville village council wants to bring his “business acumen” to his post.
But he also says he knows “at the end of the day” it’s his responsibility to listen to what taxpayers in the village are thinking.
Jason Potes, owner of Stoodt’s Market, was sworn in this week as council member to replace Rich Osborn, who resigned.
Potes said he thinks the “guy he’s taking over for” had done a great deal of work. He said Osborn had a great personality and his leaving is a “big loss.”
Potes took over ownership of Stoodt’s Market a year and a half ago. Before that he worked for at least a dozen Kroger stores around Columbus.
He was hired by Kroger after graduating from college at a time when the job market was not good. Kroger said it could look at him for eventually getting into management. He did all those things and “sixteen years later here I am.”
Potes said he thinks there are a lot of good opportunities for people in Bellville, with the development that is occurring in the I-71, State Route 97 area. The construction of two new schools is also a major event, he said.
There isn’t a lot of growth in the country as a whole, Potes said. But if Bellville has problems with growth those are “good problems to have.”
It is important to be able to ask the right questions if challenges arise, he said.
In his work situation it is important to “work with a team to meet the goal,” he said. And, when he hires someone he wants to know if that person cares.
An employee can be worked with to make sure he or she understands the process. But, he said people should know “you can’t teach someone to care.”
Potes said he has been supported for the last year and a half by people in Bellville, and he feels he “owes it” to people here to try to make things work better. He said he is from a “rival town”, Fredericktown.
In taking over Stoodt’s Market Potes has made a number of changes. He said there were “some commodities” that weren’t offered.
He now has “Chef Seth” in place, working with a variety of prepared hot foods. Seth’s last name is Coey. Beer and wine are now available.
There is also the lottery.
He said “as small as it is” the store gets a commission off sales and wins from the lottery. Gift cards are available and the store gets a commission off those sales. The lottery and gift card operations are “low labor items.”
A difference has occurred in the “whole operational line,” he said. Because of a change made in the use of light bulbs American Electric Power has sent Stoodt’s a commendation, saying the savings are equivalent to taking 20 cars off the road, or saving 183 trees.
Potes said “for me it is a money savings piece.”
For a retail grocer it is important to look at two lines at the end of the day. It should be possible to say the sales are greater, and the operating costs lower.
This way of operating is one the Bellville council should be adopting, Potes said. Council should be looking at what is spending money on , and at what is coming in.
“Are we as an organization putting some money in the bank,” he said.
Potes said when he appeared before council to tell them of plans to apply to the state for a liquor license, he could see that there had been some “due diligence” because impact fees the village can levy were being discussed.
Council was analyzing fees it can get from businesses coming into the valley area. The level of fees was changed so they would more accurately reflect traffic and usage of businesses being updated or new ones being built.