99 Cents Only Stores

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99 Cents Only Stores Recognizes Extreme Value of Amphion

99 Cents Only Stores is an extreme value retailer of consumable and general merchandise and seasonal products. Its stores offer a wide assortment of name brand merchandise and other attractively priced product offerings, including domestic and imported fresh produce, deli, dairy and frozen and refrigerated food products. 99 Cents Only Stores operates approximately 390 locations throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, appealing to a broad consumer demographic. With high overall customer traffic and frequency of customer visits, 99 Cents Only Stores is always seeking ways to continue to pass the fantastic saving values to their customers.

The Challenge

The varied sizes of 99 Cents Only Stores amplify the challenges faced by smaller retailers. Its unique floorplans and merchandise offerings require that the stores be monitored to control inventory shrinkage due to potential theft by customers and/or employees. But equally important is the 99 Cents Only Stores culture of positive inclusivity, integrity and teamwork that could be damaged by a high-footprint surveillance environment.

“We needed a covert camera kit,” explained Larry Carroll, Vice President of Asset Protection for 99 Cents Only Stores. “Something that could be hand-carried into a store and installed in 20 to 30 minutes. I wanted to be up and recording quickly and be able to disassemble and remove a camera just as quickly so that we’re not intimidating anyone, and we’re not alerting suspects to our presence. It’s important to remember that no matter how large or small the dollar value of loss we are investigating, our integrity and culture and the values of our asset protection department are on the line whenever we’re installing and removing equipment.”

99 Cents Only Stores started evaluating options for a covert hand-carried camera kit. Mr. Carroll knew what he needed was unique and that he needed a vendor with a comprehensive scope of offerings in the retail security industry to help reduce the exposure and risk for his organization. Most vendors either did not have this capability, or the cost was far too prohibitive.

The Amphion Difference

Mr. Carroll contacted George Chenarides, Sr. Vice President of Special Accounts at Amphion, and he immediately started working on the challenge. Amphion is a security integrator with a radical focus on service to national restaurant and retail customers across the country. The firm came back to 99 Cents Only Stores with a custom solution designed and built to meet the unique needs of the store chain. “Other suppliers only showed up with exactly what they wanted to present,” said Mr. Carroll. “Their products had too many complex cables and would be a big effort to install. With Amphion, everything was labeled and easy. We could hook it up and go. It was so simple anyone could do it, and this was a critical part of the job for us.”

But to Mr. Carroll, one of the biggest stand-out differences of Amphion is its concierge-level of service. “At the end of the day, most people sell the same stuff, but it’s the experience that puts an experience over the top,” he explained. “Amphion’s responsiveness and resolving issues right away is what makes my customer experience awesome. This level of responsiveness is so important in loss prevention and to 99 Cents Only Stores, because everything that we do is with a sense of purpose and urgency. It’s what we’ve created culturally at 99, and it’s what Amphion supports.”

The Results

Mr. Carroll related a recent case that demonstrated just how powerful this combination of the right product supported by stellar customer service can be. “We had a case that probably would not have been resolved without these Amphion-supplied covert kits,” he stated. “An employee wasn’t going to readily admit guilt through an interrogation, but the case was sealed with the video obtained by the covert kit. It was a slam dunk, with the suspect even admitting, ‘you guys are good.’ This whole experience added credibility to the fact that our asset protection operators can get in and get out quickly on an investigation. We can identify and catch causes of shrink, and we have discovered people committing crimes that were not even on our original list of known issues. Our executives appreciate the fact we can covertly utilize our resources without hindering our business flow and while maintaining our rich, inclusive and fair culture. We can successfully resolve cases quickly and efficiently and Amphion is a big part of that success.”