Chris Pruitt – Pivotal Retail Group
Tractors aren’t known for their looks, but as Chris Pruitt notes, Pivotal Retail Group was instrumental in helping a national farm and feed retailer develop a fresh appearance, new features and an improved customer experience.
Serving as the owner’s representative for the ongoing project, Pivotal Retail Group has helped the company improve customer traffic patterns and has added garden centers and feed barns in more than 300 stores.
Pruitt, Pivotal Retail Group’s director of construction, says work like this—which can involve changing floorplans, shelving, signage, fixtures and more—exemplifies what the company does best. It manages planning through execution.
As he chatted with Blueprint in August, Pruitt was becoming more of a public face for the business, meeting with potential clients at trade shows and other events. He says the new role taps into his social skills as well as what he’s learned in nine years at the company.
“I’ve taken a couple of personality index tests. They show I’m outgoing and I know I enjoy socializing at work and outside work,” Pruitt says. “I enjoy talking with people about the retail solutions we provide. If you need something you can call us. We’ll either know someone or we’ll be able to do it for you.”
Big solutions for big boxes
Pivotal Retail Group, a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, was founded by Andy Slanina in 2010. Slanina, an Army veteran who’d served in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, had been a buyer and merchant for Home Depot but wanted to create a company to provide space, design and construction management, as well as project coordination services to large-scale retailers.
Headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, Pivotal Retail Group’s services have included digitally mapping stores for a big box chain and installing new fixtures, shelving and checkout counters for a national auto parts chain.
In the nine years Pruitt has been with Pivotal Retail Group, he’s administered projects, supported teams working in the field, and he’s audited company projects for job progress, issue management and staffing.
As occurred with the national farm and feed retailer, Pivotal Retail Group provides professional staff to manage remodeling work—and the staff remains available after work is done to resolve lingering issues and audit results. The company is a licensed general contractor in three states and is getting licensed in more states in the Southeast, Pruitt says.
Meeting and greeting
Pruitt’s shift from operations to business development was decided by company leaders at workshops in 2021. Other changes determined during the workshops included updating how the company manages its files and improving how it onboards new employees. The company also decided to target clients differently and to set five-year financial goals.
In the past, Pruitt would oversee anywhere from 20 to 50 concurrent projects. Now in his new role, he’s showing potential customers what Pivotal Retail Group offers—and how customers can tailor those services.
“We emphasize the positive. Pivotal provides customizable solutions to help customer processes. We don’t want to sell or push a new process, but refine it,” Pruitt says.
Once he determines what potential clients are seeking for the scope of a project—from better lighting or signs to complete redesigns—store planners and project managers can step in. In addition to carrying out the projects, they can advise on current retail trends, which include having more storage and shipping areas for inventory that is sold online or picked up curbside.
“Everyone knows more than you in something, so there’s an opportunity to interact and learn things you haven’t thought about,” he says.
Passionate and practical
Pruitt, a Georgia native who has stayed close to home, earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise and health science from Kennesaw State University in 2014. He and his wife and two children love their time outdoors. It could be playing in the backyard as he grills dinner or hunting, fishing and riding four-wheelers.
He joined Pivotal Retail Group as a project administrator in September 2013. Pruitt was responsible for coordinating the teams working in the field—leading daily conference calls with team leads and managers as well as resolving issues around projects. He also ordered and tracked needed equipment and temporary labor for projects.
A year later, Pruitt was named the company’s compliance auditor and in February 2015, its client development manager.
After a stint as a project manager for Southeast Restoration Group from August 2015 to February 2016, Pruitt returned to Pivotal as senior data manager of space management solutions. He was named director of digital services in November 2018 and to his current role in June 2020.
“I love construction, sourcing new leads, pursuing opportunities and helping develop strategy and pricing,” Pruitt says. “You have to maintain a passion anytime you’re in that role—you have to believe what’s behind you.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VI 2022 Edition here.
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