The customers’ friend: Pontotoc CVS manager remembers who comes first

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Chris McKnight has been the CVS store manager in Pontotoc since the store opened in April 2010. He recently received the company's 2013 Paragon Award for his excellence in leadership.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Chris McKnight has been the CVS store manager in Pontotoc since the store opened in April 2010. He recently received the company’s 2013 Paragon Award for his excellence in leadership.

By Stephanie Rebman

Daily Journal

PONTOTOC – Chris McKnight goes into work at CVS every day ready to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the popular thing.

But by doing the right thing, he has become popular, and the company has noticed his leadership.

McKnight, 31, grew up in Pontotoc, graduating from South Pontotoc Attendance Center in 2000 and started his retail career while in high school. After managing stints with South Gloster Auto Sales in Tupelo and at Fred’s, he started with CVS and opened the store in Pontotoc in April 2010 as its manager.

He said he enjoys the retail world and getting to see his customers, which turn into neighbors and friends.

“I feel blessed, whether it be with CVS or Fred’s, working retail and seeing the same customers day in and day out,” he said. “You really don’t look at them as customers – you look at them as neighbors. You try to build that relationship.”

It’s not just helping a customer find the proper cold medication, it sometimes gets intense. Once a customer walked in and said his car was on fire. Another time a car drove into the wall of the store. He also has run next door to help his store’s neighbors before.

“I feel like every day if I come in with the intentions of helping people, that makes my job rewarding,” he said.

CVS corporate recently recognized him for his efforts with the 2013 Paragon Award for his excellence in leadership. He was named the top manager in the district, which includes central and northern Mississippi, and then named the second-best manager in the region.

“I just come in every day to do my job,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to think about getting the award. I feel like you get out of something what you put into it. I was surprised and humbled at the same time.”

CVS sent him to Florida for a few days for a reception, but he was eager to get home to Pontotoc and his family – wife Chastity and 22-month-old daughter Miranda, and his church family at West Heights Baptist Church. He also was ready to get home and root for his favorite Mississippi State Bulldogs.

He’s now getting ready for another leadership opportunity with CVS sending him to learn material and come back and teach it to the district’s managers. He’ll also be ready to bring whatever he learns to help his customers and friends.

“I like being that guy people can walk in and ask, ‘where is Chris at?’” he said.

stephanie.rebman@journalinc.com