Upper management encourages fun in the workplace.
Support from management
Many things left undone, poor follow up due to over worked employees all the way up.
If you don't use teamwork, you won't last with this company.
Freedom to work independently
The level of micro management within a company that has inconsistent policies across the board is astounding.
Emails and voicemails are repeated daily to the point where important information can get lost.
Very few men work in the company. Also, a company that runs on the backs of women shouldn't be part of the lowest paying retail group in the country. They are a part of the reason women are played so much less than men. Maybe because Avenue Stores, LLC is owned by a man?
Attitude towards older colleagues
I can't say older employees are treated better or worse than anyone else.
Associates are always being promoted because management staff is underpaid. This leads to high turn around and lots of opportunity.
Overall compensation for your work
United Retail Group has the lowest annual salary for store managers in the country. Sick time is not usable for management because the stores can not open without the manager. Health benefits are terrible. Paying over $600 per month for my family benefits and still couldn't afford to use it because deductibles and copays were too high, and maximum insurance pay outs are too low. I left the company with over $2000 in medical and dental bills.
Office / Work Environment
Tech is seriously lacking. Systems and equipment are literally obsolete in the retail industry. One tech actually told me my specific register model was discontinued in 1990. This is a huge problem for customers who are used to shopping large retailers with ease. The bathroom, managers desk, break room and storage area are all the same space with no ventilation at all.
Hangers are reused until damaged, but not recycled. Massive amounts of paper based marketing ships to stores but is never used.
Store hours were 10 to 8 most days. So, no chance of working too late or too early on a regular basis. However, because this company is not properly rewarding associates and management staff, the highest level manager in the store ends up working way more than the required 45 hours for the store manager position.
What image? No advertisement at all. None. And employees of Avenue are not desirable candidates for other companies because the low wages indicate a lower level of skill to prospective employers.
Your job is always secure if you don't steal or lie, and you can sell the credit card. When I resigned after 3 years if employment, I had seen 0 management staff terminated for any other reason. If you are an honest, hard worker you can have a job for life.
The handicap fitting room, restroom, and sales floor do not meet ADA requirements. This has been known to the company for years, but no action has ever been taken to correct it. As the store manager, I had to deny restroom access to handicapped individuals, and tell associates to follow disables customers around the store moving fixtures to make room for walkers, wheelchairs, canes, and larger individuals.
Avenue definitely cares about safety. However, my specific location had insufficient storage space leading to stacked fixtures, and narrow walkways.
Retail and retail management are always challenging.
Inclusive / Diverse
The company hires anyone qualified to fill any position. However, the benefits of working here are significantly higher if you fit the customer's demographic.
Suggestions for improvement
- Impossible bonus programs and $25 gift cards for contests do not make your employees feel valued. Competetive salaries make them feel valued. Announcing good numbers to the company make us pat ourselves on the back for a second, then we wonder why we can't get paid great if we are great. Spend more time empowering these female store managers to own their locations and their success. Spend less time auditing which way their staples face in the reports, and whether or not gum is being chewed. Pay them enough to be independent women. Get better medical insurance options. Spend some money on advertising to new customers. Increasing payroll by just 10 hours a week would give you that higher conversion rate you look for as well as provide time for the store manager to make sure the dozen or so binders we have to maintain are labeled more nicely. We may also be able to pay more attention on those weekly conference calls. Those calls cost time and money, so why wouldn't you want my undivided attention? And, for goodness' sake, stop spending thousands of dollars on good marketing that is never used, marketing that is thrown away because the V.P. just doesn't like the color, and misprinted/defective marketing tools and hardware. It's environmentally irresponsible and it makes us feel as if you would rather throw money away than pay us fairly. Also, California Labor Laws are made to protect employees from being taken advantage of. So, putting those laws down and implying they are an inconvenience makes employees feel devalued. Next time an employee complains about being forced to work through unpaid meal breaks, and this is investigated and found to be true, write a check for one hour for every missed half hour meal break. Do not have your Loss Prevention Officer just tell these employees nothing will be done about it because the time sheets were signed. The company is headed for a law suit it can't afford.
What I like about the company
Avenue is a very fun place to work. The CEO once told me if you aren't having fun, perhaps you should be doing something else. I have had a lot of jobs, but this was my favorite. We had the two best district managers I've ever met, and my regional sales director was so hands on and so supportive all around. Her training style is amazing.
What I dislike about the company
Employees are not paid fairly. The expectations are very high for appearance, education level, productivity, and availability. When McDonald's is paying cashiers more, this leads to very high turnover, and employees with low productivity. These things all put a higher level of stress on store managers who have enough stress because they can't pay their bills on what Avenue pays. I made bonus one time in 3 years because my customers were being diverted to other stores by the company website. I was told it is because those stores have higher overhead.