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Tom CoogleTom Coogle is the President of Reynolds Foodliner Inc., a grocery company that operates stores including Piggly Wiggly and Stripling’s General Store. He is also a Franchise Owner at Your Pie Franchising. Tom has been in the food and beverage industry for over 22 years, taking his family’s company from modest success in the grocery business to a diversified company with his team members as the priority.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Tom Coogle explains how Reynolds Foodliner Inc. has changed over his 22-year leadership
  • Why it’s crucial to create a partnership between employers and employees
  • Tom describes his journey with Your Pie Franchising
  • How Tom and his team made adjustments during challenging times
  • How do you establish and maintain a great culture?

In this episode…

In this episode of the SpotOn Series, Chad Franzen is joined by Tom Coogle, President of Reynolds Foodliner Inc. and Franchise Owner at Your Pie Franchising. They discuss maintaining a great culture, supporting employees, and pivoting during tough times. Tom explains the importance of sharing profit with employees, streamlining processes to improve workflow, and creating a culture based on authenticity and positivity. Plus, he shares his experience running a business and franchise.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode


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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:04  

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show powered by Rise25 Media. We’ve featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.

Chad Franzen  0:20  

Chad Franzen here co host for the show where we feature top restaurateurs, investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn Series. SpotOn has the best in class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn restaurant, where they combine marketing software and payments all in one. They’ve served everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and subway to small mom and pop restaurants. To learn more, go to This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through done for you podcast. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships with clients referrals and thought leaders in your space, there’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing. To learn more, go to or email us at Tom Coogle is president of Reynolds Foodliner Incorporated and a franchise owner with Your Pie, a chain which allows customers to customize personal pizzas, pastas and paninis. Tom is a multi Gen generational entrepreneur who has taken his family’s company from modest success in the grocery business to a diversified company with his team members as the priority. Their goal is to change the lives of their team, which will then improve the product delivered to the customer. Hey, Tom, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?

Tom Coogle  1:31  

Happy to be here. Appreciate it, Chad.

Chad Franzen  1:33  

Hey, yeah, so tell me a little bit more about Reynolds Foodliner and what you guys do?

Tom Coogle  1:37  

Yeah, so like, like I like you said there. It’s a father started the company in the late 70s. Grocery operator operated for a long time. I certainly learned the basics of what we do. From my dad and the people that I worked under. With him. I started working in one of his stores when I was 11 years old. I don’t even know if that’s legal anymore.

Chad Franzen  2:04  

So he’s Reynolds Foodliner, like a grocery store.

Tom Coogle  2:07  

Yeah, well Reynolds Foodliner is a grocery company. And then we operate Piggly Wiggly stores. And we also are operating some other banners. So we manage a store for an independent owner, called Varian coastal market is on the coastal side of Georgia. And we’re also operating a Stripling’s General Store franchise, which is a specialty butcher shop, we’ll make grocery and restaurant combo. So this grocery restaurant combo has been, you know, new to the business. And it’s something that, that we really think that will expand on the future. Of course, like you said, we’re also doing your pop pizza stores. I really love that franchise.

Chad Franzen  2:50  

Yeah, great. So tell me how Reynolds Foodliner, you’re the president, you started working there were when you were 11 Tell me how it has changed since under kind of under your leadership.

Tom Coogle  3:03  

So you know, it really comes down to a focus on the culture of our company, and, and sort of a redirect to, you know, what our mission was, you know, I don’t know that we had a mission, I think we were at a place where we’re trying to get to the next month, through the next pay period, you know, for years, my dad did did very well. He operated the company through the late 70s 80s into the 90s some of the best economic times we had a period of pretty steady inflation and, and growth. You know, it was a time where you can do well in that industry. And it was really a time before restaurant had such a massive piece of the pie. And we’ll so important and it’s called what we’re doing, you know, I think it’s we really kind of changed our focus and said, you know, instead of competing with restaurants, who become more like them and and also become restaurant tours in our own right. And that’s, that’s a, that’s what we’ve done. The focus is just truly shifted from how do we just operate this business? And how do we grow? And how do we bring up our, our team members along with us so that we all grew up together and we can begin to promote from within and give ourselves a place to do that. So you know, we’ve got more focused on growth and more focused on our people.

Chad Franzen  4:40  

Yeah, talk to me a little bit more about the ways that you kind of view the employer employee relationship.

Tom Coogle  4:47  

Um, yeah, so, you know, not not unusual to any business of the day. It was a transactional kind of a thing. You know, you work somewhere. I think that in those early years, it It was probably naturally more of a family environment, right? The world wasn’t what it is today, people didn’t job hop people. We, our stores, we operate in small towns anyway. So it was very much. You know, you hired a guy and he worked for you for 35 years. That’s the way it went. And as you get into the 90s, mid 90s, things pretty much changed. People didn’t stay in the same places, and they did have their eyes looking outward. You know, that was that’s a challenge, right? I’m sure it was a big challenge. I love to ask my father right now, you know, how he felt about that time period. Because I’m sure it was just all boom, all of a sudden, more people are looking to go here looking to go there. And the economy grew so quickly during that spell, and the opportunity for retail workers increased even in small markets. So you know, you had compensation for employees that you didn’t have before. And things got tougher. So things tightened on the backside of the 90s. We always entered into a deflationary period of food, which was very difficult to navigate. You know, you got prices going, going down. Yeah, I mean, that sounds like a good thing. And maybe it is for the consumer, but it’s a bad thing for the business owner who’s buying something and then sell it for less than next week. So it was it was a tough time, it was hard to keep up with with wage inflation. And, you know, we decided to kind of turn that on its head and stop saying, What can I What can our people do for us, but how can we do something for them, so that we operate more with a field of partnership. And last year, we really put our money where our mouth is, we went 49% ESOP. So we’d sold off almost half the company to to the team members themselves. That’s a big part of what we see in our future, you know,