Jones has been in the grocery business for 47 years. “That’s my platinum rule and whatever I do, I do to the best of my ability.”
Moving to Flagstaff in December 1970, Jones was born in inner city Los Angeles and started his career in the grocery business at A.J. Bayless on North Humphreys in 1973. “My family would come here every year for the July 4th Native American Pow Wow. I was 1 year old the first time we visited, so a lot of people think I was born here.”
Jones began as a box boy. His position progressed to courtesy clerk/cashier, then to assistant grocery manager. Over the years, he has worked at the Woodlands Village Bashas’ Supermarket as well.
Jones also attended Northern Arizona University, working toward a degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis in design technology. He dabbled in construction and converted his home into a four-plex with two efficiency apartments. “My plans were to secure income for my mom, who was a real estate agent. When everything was completed, my mom passed away.”
Co-workers asked if he would continue in the grocery business. “I told them that I would be a manager someday. They laughed at me.”
“I remember shopping with my mom at A.J. Bayless in the late 1970s, we lived nearby and we would see Wayne often. He had a big afro at the time,” said Bashas’ Supermarkets Training Specialist for Northern Arizona Carolanne Kerdraon. “Later on, I worked as his bookkeeper and then became part of his management team. I learned a ton from Wayne over the years but the one thing I always admired was his style of management. He really is a leader for the people. He empowers you to ask the questions, seek the answers and guides you in building the confidence to do your job and do that job well.”
Pressing forward, Jones earned an associate’s degree in business management through a Bashas’ program while working full-time. “With family, work and school, I became really good at time management.”
“Wayne is the quintessential grocery store manager: Out on the sales floor, available to customers, thoroughly knowledgeable about store operations and unfailingly polite. I can’t imagine a better representative of the Bashas’ brand. We are grateful to Wayne for his nearly 30 years with us, and hope he continues with us for many years to come,” said Bashas’ Family of Stores President and CEO Edward “Trey” Basha.
“That is what is great about Bashas’ Supermarkets. They honestly and genuinely care for their employees. They are fair and take good care of their employees and refer to us as members,” said Jones.
“The times I’ve seen Wayne, he’s always smiling with a ‘how you doing’ smile and his personality is so warm and inviting,” said UniSource Energy Services Executive Assistant Nora Ontiveros. “You just don’t see that in grocery stores anymore.”
In his free time, Jones and his wife, Janet, enjoy fishing. He also serves as a deacon at Springhill Baptist Church.
Bashas’ Supermarkets has been in Arizona since the early 1900s and has more than 100 stores around the state and two in New Mexico.
The grocer’s recent announcement about selling to California-based Rayley’s Holding Company is not expected to change anything, including the Bashas’ name and focus on customer and employee care.
“During the pandemic, it showed my family it was time to sell our chain of stores, said Bashas’ President and CEO Edward Basha. “The big corporate stores would beat out the family-owned stores for resources.”
No stores are expected to close.
Cave Springs Campground in Oak Creek Canyon.
My pastor and long-time friend, Cemie Clayton, for spiritual inspiration and guidance that he’s given me, which has made phenomenal changes in the way I perceive things in people. Also, my former coworker, Brian Thomas, a former store director, for his incredible work ethic. While undergoing treatments for cancer, he still had the strength and resilience to be at work that night after treatment. He worked the graveyard shift. He did that for over a year. If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is.
Character Quality Most Admired
Last Time I Laughed Out Loud
We were visiting our daughter in El Cajon, California. I saw her picking up little dishes with leftover food in her bedroom. “What are you doing?’’ I asked. She said her boyfriend needs to learn to pick up his stuff and put them away. That’s the same thing I used to tell her. It’s amazing how we turn into our parents.
Sushi. I didn’t get started on that until 1990 here in Flagstaff when Sakura Sushi Teppan opened. I got hooked. It’s very fresh, decorative and delicious. FBN
By: V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN