Based out of Matthews, North Carolina, Harris Teeter is an American supermarket chain. Looking at June 2015, the company had 235 stores in seven states. If you live in any of these states, it’s time to fill out a Harris Teeter application.
Today I’ll give you inside info about the company’s history and culture, and then I’ll show you how to apply and start your career.
Harris Teeter History & Overview
Part One: The Harris Story
The company’s namesake comes from the founders: William Thomas Harris and Willis L. Teeter. These two had separate businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Great Depression and later merged them into one. Harris began as an employee of A&P, the first supermarket in Charlotte.
He borrowed money in 1936 to open the Harris Super Market. Most of the products in this first store were dry goods because frozen foods and refrigeration technology didn’t become prevalent until World War II. There were eight employees in the beginning.
This same store became Harris Teeter store #201. It was closed and replaced by a two-story store in May of 2013. The Harris Super Market was the first store of its kind to allow customers to choose items from the shelves. Prior to this innovation, customers would hand a list of items to the clerk who would go an find them.
It was the first store in the area to be open until 9 PM on Fridays whereas other stores closed at 5 PM.
This choice was to make it easier for families who worked to buy their groceries on Fridays when they were paid. Later, Harris Super Market became the first store to add air conditioning.
Harris even ran his own dairy farm and stocked the shelves with dairy from it in every store. These were sold under the brand name “Vernedale Farms.” He created the first dairy co-op with local farmers and later sold it to Pet Dairy.
His son, Donald Thomas Harris started working for the company when he was eight years old. When he got older, he suggested to his father the idea of selling more than food products. He thought they should also carry health and beauty products, school supplies, kitchen tools, seasonal items, and more.
His father liked the idea and created a division for such a purpose and had his son run it. Donald ran that division until his retirement in 1995. Donald was the last family member to work for the company though it had began as an entirely family-run business.
Part Two: The Teeter Story
In 1939 Willis L. Teeter was also working for A&P at the Moorseville, North Carolina location. Teeter and his brother borrowed $1,700 to open Teeter’s Food Mart on Main Street. The focus for their family-run store was excellent customer service. To this end, they even offered home delivery.
This focus on service and quality caused massive growth for the company. Teeter believed in one Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” The company moved to a larger location in 1946 to keep up with the growth. It became the first business to introduce automatic doors and check-outs in North Carolina.
The company continued growing, becoming extremely popular in any area where a new store opened. After opening the sixth store, Teeter joined the NC Food Dealers Association. During one of the meetings, Teeter met Harris. They talked and realized that working together would benefit them both.
They agreed to merge and did so in February of 1960. The newly formed Harris Teeter was the largest independent grocery chain in the Carolinas.
Harris Teeter Today
Fast forward to today and Harris Teeter is still expanding. The company has moved into Maryland with eleven stores so far. Stores are being closed and opened in the Charlotte region to move them to more profitable areas. The upcoming expansion of Publix into the Charlotte market has required that other stores prepare accordingly.
A new upscale chain owned by Harris Teeter known as 201central will be opening in the area as well to combat the arrival of Whole Foods Market which opened its first store in 2012. Currently, there are locations in the following states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- District of Columbia
Since 1992 the official mascot of the company has been “Harry the Happy Dragon.” The slogan has been “Your Neighborhood Food Market” but the old slogan is still used: “The Best is What We’re All About.”
The company was recently purchased by Kroger, but the name and culture have remained intact. One interesting aspect of these stores is the Harris Teeter Express Lane which allows customers to shop online for groceries and pick them up at their local store. Some stores also offer home delivery.
While no longer competitors, applying to Kroger would be a good idea to see what positions they are offering. Next, I would recommend you apply to Publix since they are a major competitor. Finally, check out Piggly Wiggly if you live in the south. They pioneered a lot of modern grocery standards as well.
Harris Teeter Application Online
In a supermarket like Harris Teeter there are positions available across a wide variety of departments. You can apply in person or online with the company, giving you options for how you go about it. I usually recommend applying online at the company’s career page so you can get an idea of the job descriptions.
Don’t just sit and wait when you’ve applied though, I don’t recommend that. You should visit the store and speak with the hiring manager. Like I always say, putting a face to the name means everything. You could also bring a resume and cover letter to supplement what you put on your online forms.
Remember that there are a lot of people who want to work for Harris Teeter, and they receive a lot of inquiries each day. Standing out from the crowd is best way to get noticed and hired.
Remember the information you learned here, apply with confidence and introduce yourself to the manager. These three key ingredients will make your Harris Teeter application the best it can be. Thanks for reading!