A Great Place to Work: Local Employer Top Shelf Collective Awarded Certification of Excellence Three Years in a Row

Top Shelf Collective, the constellation of Jackson Hole businesses including The Liquor Store, Jackson Hole Wine Club, Jackson Hole Marketplace, Jackson Hole Gift Baskets and The Vault of Jackson Hole, is the first company in western Wyoming to receive a “Certified Great Place to Work” accolade. The certification recognizes exceptional work culture and overall employee satisfaction — a reflection of the organization’s dedication to a unique model of leadership and cooperation.

“To be a certified ‘Great Place to Work’ requires us to have an environment where people know they’re contributors to the organization, and also know that they’re valued for their contribution,” says Top Shelf Collective CEO Stephan Abrams. “To be certified, we had to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. As the leader, I had to allow myself to be vulnerable and listen to what people were saying, hear their feedback, and take action on it.”

The certification process requires that a large percentage of employees respond to a survey about the company’s leadership, culture, and practices. It then requires that the average response is high enough to merit the certification. Employees offered feedback in categories including leadership, compensation and benefits, employee engagement, personal growth opportunities, teamwork, HR practices, and workplace culture.

“We had a lot of responses, which was fantastic, and very positive responses. Our average score in multiple areas was 95%,” says Abrams. “I think it shows that our team is deeply proud of the work they have done. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to where we are, and their responses gave them an opportunity to celebrate that effort.”

Abrams believes that at the core of this achievement is Top Shelf Collective’s dedication to the Servant Leadership Model. Instead of those higher on the leadership ladder feeling entitled to command their subordinates around, he says, this model requires every person to step into leadership asking how they can help those around them. “You ask them how you can help them be successful in the responsibilities that they have. You never feel alone. You always know that somebody is there for you.”

The resulting cultural shift is significant, Abrams explains. “Part of building that culture is ensuring that we don’t have something like gossip — and that’s a profound statement. We have a no gossip policy, and it’s taken a few years to implement it. We have an environment where you can feel as though you’re respected and it’s safe for you to speak out and ask questions and learn, and that takes a lot of work.”

In addition to a rigorous commitment to communication systems, Top Shelf Collective practices Open Book Finance.

“It provides a clear path to the business being successful, and a financial reward for everybody on the team. It breaks down all social classes in the organization so everybody understands their contribution. Whatever they’re willing to invest and contribute, they’ll see the reward for it.”

Top Shelf Collective, which currently has around 40 employees, is looking to expand its team. “Being understaffed hinders our ability to implement some really fun, exciting changes in the business that we want to make. There’s only so much that people can do, and in the end, you’ve got to get the doors open and the shelves stocked, and be as gracious as you can to customers,” explains Abrams. But through filling the additional spaces on the Top Shelf Collective team, he sees ample opportunity for inspiring developments.

“Imagine you walk into a business or company, and you see people enjoying themselves. They’re genuinely enjoying interacting with customers and one another. Life will always have unpleasant moments, but with the right environment and support from your team members you can get through anything,” Abrams says. “Knowing that you’re going to have a positive impact on other peoples’ lives — customers and fellow employees — and that every day you’re provided the resources to learn more than you knew the day before; that’s why I think someone should come and work for us.”

Top Shelf Collective, based in Jackson Hole, WY, is dedicated to serving the greater Jackson Hole community and making a positive impact through all of its diverse ventures. A Certified Great Place to Work, the constellation of businesses under the umbrella — including The Liquor Store, Jackson Hole Marketplace, JH Connection, Vault of Jackson Hole, and more — is proud to ensure that every customer interaction is Top Shelf every time.