, the largest independent grocer in Rhode Island, has been named as one of the state’s Healthiest Employers for 2012 by Providence Business News. A luncheon to honor the inaugural recipients of this award was recently held at the Providence Marriott.
To narrow down the varied field of applicants in terms of company size and business genre, Providence Business News used a 75-question assessment and proprietary ranking system. Applicants were judged across six wellness categories: culture and leadership commitment; foundation components; strategic planning; communication and marketing, programming and interventions; and reporting and analysis.
Beginning modestly in 1969 as Dave’s Fruitland, a small roadside stand, the company has greatly expanded its operations and it mission over the last 40 years. It now has nine full-service supermarkets locations across Rhode Island.
“The promotion of good health and good food has always been a core philosophy for us,” says Dave Cesario, CEO and founder of Dave’s Marketplace. “It’s particularly exciting to see how passionately our people are involved in the health and wellness initiatives throughout the entire company.”
For instance, all employees benefit from the Family Rewards Program, providing their households with a 10% discount on all in-store shopping at Dave’s. The chain’s Celebrity Chef series, which features in-store demonstrations on healthy cooking and eating, recently hosted Food Network chef, Giada De Laurentis.— a renowned author of numerous health-conscious cookbooks.
Other events that have become part of the Dave’s Marketplace culture include its Bigger Loser Contest. Now in its fourth year, the contest winner receives $1,000 in cash. Plus, the team from the winning store wins an all-expense-paid night out on the town, including dinner and a limousine. The next most-popular contest is Cold Turkey, a smoking-cessation program. All participants receive a cold turkey sandwich from the Dave’s deli in exchange for their packs of cigarettes — and are provided with a series of ongoing supports to aid in their transition.
“We’re always looking for fresh ways to encourage our people to be active, eat healthier and lose weight, Cesario concludes. “Best of all, we have a great time in the process.”