FMI Presents Store Manager Awards, Crowns Supermarket Chef Showdown Champ
The Food Marketing Institute revealed the winners of the 2014 Store Manager Awards, which recognize exceptional supermarket store managers who generate sales growth; provide great customer service; contribute to attaining company goals; and are an integral part of the communities in which they serve.
“Store managers are the heart and soul of our industry,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “Our 2014 Store Manager Award winners display all the key leadership qualities—dedication to their customers and community, ability to bring out the best in others and innovative marketing ideas—that are the gold medal qualities of successful food retailers.”
The 15th annual Store Manager Award winners are:
• Category A (1-49 stores): Larry Hack, Martin’s Super Markets, Granger, Ind.—Hack’s use of creative merchandising in center store, including the Biggest Barefoot Wine Display Ever Built and a Cereal Display of a Race Car, has been key to increasing sales.
• Category B (50-199 stores): Kate Allred, Lowes Foods LLC, Clemmons, N.C.—A shopping trip in Allred’s stores has been described as “like going on a field trip” or “going to Disney Land” with interactive, original displays such as the singing Chicken Chandelier or the Sausage Professor.
• Category C (200-plus stores): Randy Kruse, Hy-Vee Inc., Ames, Iowa—Through expanding connections with Iowa State University, Kruse has quadrupled the amount of business the store gets from the university and companies associated with ISU athletics.
• Category D (international): George Katsifolis, Delhaize Group, Kalamata, Greece—An entrepreneur at heart, Katsifolis pushes for “out-of-the-box” ideas, such as a new fish department or a dedicated local foods initiative that help drive sales and growth.
The 2014 Store Manager Awards were announced at FMI Connect in Chicago this week; winners each received a $1,000-prize and a crystal award.
Kowalski’s Rachael Perron wins Supermarket Chef Showdown
Also at FMI Connect, FMI recognized five category winners and one grand champion in the Supermarket Chef Showdown, the food retail industry’s unique competition for culinary talent. Chef Rachael Perron of Kowalski’s Markets was named grand champion of the 2014 Supermarket Chef Showdown for her Greek Grain Salad with Dilled Feta Dressing.
Twenty-four chefs competed across five categories in front of a live audience on the exhibit floor of FMI Connect. The Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert acted as producer and emcee for the event. The chefs’ culinary creativity was tested as they created meals in less than 20 minutes featuring products from Supermarket Chef Showdown sponsors, including McCormick’s and Cans Get You Cooking.
“What I love about the Supermarket Chef Showdown is that these talented chefs are finally getting some credit for preparing the wide variety of delicious food that feeds millions of Americans every day,” said Janet McCracken, Supermarket Chef Showdown judge and test kitchen director for “Everyday with Rachael Ray. “It’s giving a face to the men and women behind everything from that delicious rotisserie chicken that I personally rely on heavily for weeknight meals, to the wonderful salads, vegetable side dishes and desserts.”
The 24 finalists were selected from a record 130 entries from 30 different retailers.
“While the competition is fun, the real joy of this event is the chance to spotlight the spice that supermarket chefs bring to food retail,” FMI’s Sarasin said. “As we all know, food is the great connector—bringing people together—and that is true even within a cooking competition.
“This event has sparked a community of supermarket chefs over 200 members strong,” she added. “Our chef community has its own website where members can interact, access resources and sign up for our quarterly newsletter.”
• Healthy Meals Category winner: Rachael Perron, Kowalski’s Markets, Greek Grain Salad with Dilled Feta Dressing
• Family Meals Category winner: Keoni Chang, Foodland Super Market, Korean-Style Hillshire Farm Dogs with Kimchi Slaw and Alexia Garlic Sweet Potato Fries
• Ethnic Meals Category winner: Andrew Kintigh, Hy-Vee Inc., Moroccan Style Chickpea and Kale Stew with Date Gremolata
• Side Dish/Mini Meals Category winner: Erin Horton, Orchard Fresh, Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs
• Desserts Category winner: Michael Brady, Fresh by Brookshire’s Grocery, Banana Beignets