Business & economy, In the community

Son, father find themselves competing as grocery managers in Ontario

ONTARIO — The new store director at Albertsons dreamed of heading up his grocery store like his father. 

In March Devon Wadley was named store director of the Ontario Albertsons at 1410 Westpark Plaza. That puts him in a friendly competition with his father, Allan, the longtime director of Red Apple Marketplace at 555 S.W. 4th Ave. 

Devon, 38, who, up until he started with Albertsons around 2006 while living in Arizona, had always worked with his father. When he moved back to the Treasure Valley in 2010, Devon joined his father again at Red Apple for a short time. 

Realizing there was only so much room to move up, Devon jumped ship in 2011 for Albertsons in Payette. Later, Devon transferred to the Ontario store before he was promoted to store director in Boise last year and then moved back to Ontario when the director position became available. 

Wadley said he wants to make his father proud of him as he sets his own course. He said he wants to emulate his father, known for the solid relationships he built with his staff over the years. 

Growing up, Wadley said nearly every time he introduced himself to someone, the next question inevitably would be: Was he related to Allan? 

From there, he would hear how much that person loved his dad when they worked for him and that Allan Wadley was the most incredible boss they ever had. 

“You can tell that everybody that’s worked for my dad trusts him and, and truly cares about him,” Wadley said. 

That healthy rapport is what he is looking to build among his employees at Albertsons. 

“I feel like if I can do that, it would make him proud,” Devon said.

Wadley said his goal is bringing out the best in those who work for him. He said he sees himself more as a coach than he does as a boss. 

He was also always mindful of being considered the boss’s son –someone who rode on his father’s success and never had to work for anything himself.  “It’s one thing that my dad taught me, he said. “You earn what you get,” Wadley said. “Nothing is given to you. You earn it.” 

Allan Wadley said being considered just the boss’s son could be toxic for Wadley’s career. 

“You don’t want to have that label that you’re here just because your dad gave you the job,” Allan said. 

The father and son maintain a playful competition.

Wadley, who describes himself as a “very competitive person,” said his dadis “the best at what he does.” 

“I’ve always wanted to challenge myself and be as good as him and make him proud,” Devon said. 

Allen Wadley said his son has proven that he can manage a store himself and that he does not need his guidance. Allan said the life of a retail store director is sometimes grueling and demanding, requiring long hours over stretches without a day off. Allan said he missed many baseball and football games when his son was younger. 

“You always question,” Allan said. “Would you do it again? Would you do the same job, or would you change things?”

Allan said the tradeoff is the strong relationships he built over the years with customers, vendors and employees. 

Allan said he has heard his son is doing the same thing. 

“I think he’s doing a good job. They always say good things about him,” Allan said. “I am pretty proud of him.” 

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