Employees at Hibbett Retail are trained to do one thing above all else, and that is to take care of the customer. Because Hibbett’s physical stores sit between the company and the customer, the number one job for Justin Farr is to take care of the stores so his colleagues can accomplish exactly what they were trained to do.
Farr is the company’s senior director of property management and facilities. He’s been with the billion-dollar Alabama company since 2001. Watching the organization grow over two decades motivates him to perform at his very best. “We have to maintain excellence as we expand,” he says. “Everything that we do in our facilities impacts associates on the floor. Our actions impact their lives, so what we do has to always be at one hundred percent effort.”
In 2001, Hibbett already had 56 years of history, but it was still a relatively small, regional company with 330 locations. Now, it has over 1,100 total locations branded as Hibbett, City Gear, and Sports Addition stores in 36 states nationwide.
Being at the company during a prolonged period of growth has given Farr the chance to grow and evolve himself. He started in retail store operations. Eleven months later, he moved to the Store Support Center (SSC) as a property manager. He’s also been a project manager, a senior design analyst, and director of facilities and design.
The progression has helped Farr build legacy knowledge and relationships that help him perform today. “I’ve learned a great deal about each area as well as how to strive to be the best leader for our team along the way,” he says.
Farr has further perfected his leadership skills by serving as a Second Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the nonprofit civilian arm of the US Air Force. In doing so, Farr not only supports his son, an aspiring pilot, but also helps train and develop cadets as a logistics officer. The volunteer position fits with his work at Hibbett, as both roles involve building culture and training others to embrace a mission and pursue shared goals.
Hibbett’s corporate employees moved into a newly renovated SSC in 2013. Farr now leads three teams that work together to complete all building maintenance and utility and waste management work at stores, the SSC, and a distribution center. His property management team receives daily repair requests and executes capital improvements. A facilities and procurement team purchases and distributes store supplies. Lastly, a store development support team handles utilities and trash programs and installs all signage.
Despite major changes in consumer behavior and challenges in traditional retail, Hibbett is opening new stores and establishing new trade areas. Farr’s teams are replacing all Hibbett and Sports Addition signs to modernize store appearances. Accomplishing the multiyear project takes strong partnerships with vendors like Federal Heath and Vision Sign Group.
Store infrastructures also needed important upgrades. In 2021, Farr and his colleagues updated old systems in nearly all 900 Hibbett locations, introducing new CAT6 wiring, new switch systems, and improved Wi-Fi access. Now, they’ll work alongside Wachter Inc., Grainger, and Hubbell to bring the same improvements to City Gear locations.
“Customer centricity is critical to the immersive experience organizations want to achieve,” says Charlotte Gilet, senior director of sales at Wachter. “As our customer’s partner and advisor, we take pride and ownership of our customer’s projects and tackle everything and anything.”
Completing these ambitious large-scale projects is never easy. Farr overcomes challenges related to supply chain shortages and other issues by leaning on Hibbett’s strong culture that promotes collaboration and ideas such as two of its “10 keys”: “knowledge is power” and “speed is life.”
“We seek to find what we do not know, while we are humble in learning from what we find,” he says. He encourages his peers to move to alternative solutions when necessary and stay open to new ideas, vendors, parts, and manufacturers as long as they do not compromise the intended result or bring a negative impact to the central customer experience.
This philosophy was on display in 2021 when Hibbett faced a shortage of retail shopping bags. The company’s normal branded bags were delayed, so Farr had to work with multiple vendors until he found plain bags that would arrive quickly for use until the branded versions were available. “We strive to never take no for an answer unless we have exhausted all avenues,” says Farr of his ability to uncover creative solutions.
It’s all part of his desire to lead by example. Farr and Hibbett work with a team of analysts and managers that he knows are more than great employees—they’re great people. “I am truly blessed to have each one of them on our team,” he says.
Farr aims to be calm but vigilant as he conquers daily challenges that arise. He hopes to put others first while pursuing big goals together. He “leads from within,” brings a bit of himself to what he does and asks others to do the same.
As Hibbett moves forward, Farr and other leaders continue to monitor changes in consumer preference as they watch for material challenges and changes in how the supply chain operates. Hibbett is also pushing its digital teams to enhance the online customer experience.
Despite the change, in-person shopping isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, Farr says his company will be opening more stores. He’s excited for what that will bring. “That means we get to do what we’ve always done,” he says. “And that is to work our very best to provide great locations that meet and surpass our customers’ needs and expectations.”
Specialty Roll Products® has been meeting customer needs since 1970 with the philosophy that listening to and caring about customers is top priority. What began as a paper roll manufacturing company, Specialty Roll Products® has expanded its offerings into Pick & Pack, Fulfillment and Logistics. We are proud to partner with Hibbett ꘡ City Gear and its leaders, like Justin Farr, to offer them a seamless opportunity for Pick & Pack, Fulfillment and Logistics.
Wachter is a valued resource and trusted partner for simplifying the complexities of integrating and converging traditional electrical systems into immersive customer-centric experiences. Retailers are transforming in-store experiences, including data security, seamless shopping between devices, and personalized connections. Watchers’ engineers and project managers leverage our nationwide W-2 workforce of technicians with unprecedented experience to integrate and upgrade electrical systems, displays, security, and connectivity into superior customer experiences. We deliver end-to-end solutions for technology advancements while prioritizing safety and security.