In honor of store managers' adaptability in the rapidly shifting grocery industry, which sees these individuals running complex, multifaceted operations instead of simply a brick-and-mortar store, FMI named the finalists for its 2019 store manager awards. Voting will be available online until April 22.
See the full list of finalists below:
Category A: (1-49 Stores) Finalists
Lori Hodgkinson, ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc., Croton-On-Hudson, N.Y.
Lori Hodgkinson thinks “engagement” whenever she thinks about how to improve financial performance at her ShopRite of Croton. That is, engagement with employees. Hodgkinson adds team-building activities into almost every weekly department manager meeting.
Jeff Kramm, Lunds & Byerlys, Wayzata, Minn.
Jeff Kramm takes what he calls a “bells and whistles” approach to marketing. He doesn’t want any customer to leave the store without everything they need and want. Customer service surveys prove Kramm may be on to something. Customers approved in 2018 with a 67% score for selection of products, 81% for friendliness of cashiers and 75% for quality of products.
Tom Slott, Martin’s Super Markets Inc., Granger, Ind.
Store manager Tom Slott caused customer count to grow 8.3% over the past five years. Once a customer is in the store, it's his goal to deliver the best service possible by executing innovative in-store experiences. This incredible ability to communicate also translated to team development and a long list of assistant store managers becoming store managers at other Martin’s Super Markets.
Category B: (50-199 Stores) Finalists
Tim Collins, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc., Pikeville, Ky.
Tim Collins’ reputation as a promotor and merchandiser extends far beyond the walls of the Food City store he manages. Collins’ store typically ranks as one of the top five performers in the Food City chain when it comes to promotional sales activity and customer loyalty programs. Evidence for customer loyalty can be found in the numbers: More than 86% of his total store sales are generated by his base (most frequent) customers.
Ray Jackson, Brookshire Grocery Co., Hallsville, Texas
Ray Jackson took over leadership of his current store in 2012 and showcased a 38-year career with the company last year by winning its Store Director of the Year award. When employees deliver truly remarkable customer service or go above and beyond in their jobs, Jackson presents them with a special token or a ribbon to display on their name badge.
Brian McMillan, Giant Food Stores LLC, Lancaster, Pa.
Competitively speaking, 2018 was a wild year for the Giant Food Stores in Lancaster, Pa. Store manager Brian McMillan was asked to absorb 48 new associates and to undergo extensive—and quick—enhancements to deal with both new competitors and staff additions. McMillan focuses on teaching and coaching, and lives the “One Team” culture, seen through associates having a great sense of energy, engagement and positive morale.
Category C: (200+ Stores) Finalists
Henry Samaniego, Meijer Inc., Hudsonville, Mich.
Recognizing the needs of a changing marketplace, Henry Samaniego’s Meijer store first doubled and then tripled its sales of Hispanic items by constantly expanding and increasing the selection the store offered. Samaniego successfully implemented new omnichannel tactics including self-checkout, Shop and Scan and Meijer’s home delivery service. Last year, his store ranked No. 1 in the company for cashier performance, No. 1 in greetings, No. 8 in speed of checkout and No. 4 in overall customer focus.
Bruce Yeo, Fry’s Food Stores, Chandler, Ariz.
Bruce Yeo knows he manages one of the “big dogs” of food retail: His sprawling Fry’s Food Stores is at a busy intersection in suburban Chandler, Ariz. His store was named the best Marketplace store in its division. Every day, Yeo walks the floor and communicates constantly with every department on their progress toward store and companywide goals. Along with keeping one of his company’s busiest stores excelling on a day-to-day basis, Yeo found another niche as a superb talent developer.
Category D: (International)
Marjana Jese Zuka, Spar Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Marjana Jese Zuka has managed Spar Slovenia’s flagship store for the past four years. Zuka’s store has been the first to experiment with click-and-shop, self-checkout and new innovative layouts, truly making her store the first stop for all new ideas and the company’s most promising new employees. She puts an emphasis on training workshops and the company’s e-learning platform.
Niki Scott, Sobeys, Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador
Store manager Niki Scott has built trust and dedication among her staff in the store that serves the community of Paradise. The “punch” rate—the number of employees who punch in late for their shifts—at her Sobeys is below 5%. Scott is an excellent mentor and is focused on helping employees grow their roles, advance levels and receive training in multiple departments.