Renee Amen started helping out around her father’s grocery business as early as 12 years old. And she began officially working at Super A while in college. She has since risen from associate level to company controller.
Asked what she thought has been the most challenging part about working with the company, “Probably dealing with family personalities,” she said. “We all are very strong and very opinionated. My brother (Jim) has to put up with all of his sisters – three of his sisters – on a daily basis…so that can be very challenging. But it’s also very rewarding because you’re building your business together.”
She considered it a blessing to have her father, Lou Amen, around for such a long time and being able learn from him.
“His wisdom, the way he dealt with people…he was hard on people, but they respected him because they also knew exactly where he stood at any one point in time…in this day and age, I think that is super important.”
Her father worked right up until his passing in May 2020. Long tenures are apparent across the company as well. Renee said some employees at Super A have worked there for as many as 40 years.
“We have a lot of employees that are part of the community,” she said. “We hire people from the community. It’s not like a corporate office where you’re hiring people that are living a long way away.”
Super A also does its part to help employees, such as an annual charity golf tournament which has raised more than $1 million in college scholarships for workers.
In regard to opportunities on store shelves, Amen said company officials are always ready to speak to a new vendor.
“We talk to everybody…my dad told a story about how he was like the first person to put Tapatio (hot sauce) in a store. They came to him and said, ‘We got this item we want to get it in.’
“But think about what an item Tapatio is, and somebody gave them an opportunity… you just don’t know what’s going to be that next crazy big item,” Renee said.
Since her father was constantly working, the time with him was sometimes short but precious.
“He was such a wonderful man, just as a dad and as a grandpa,” she said. “As a dad, he was working so much, so the time we got to spend with him was limited, but very valuable. And then as we came to work for him, we got to see him every day.”
Renee is currently vice chairman of the California Grocers Association and will become the chair in December.
Click here to see The Shelby Report‘s special section celebrating Lou Amen and Super A Foods 50th anniversary.