Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, Maxx Value Foods and FoodMaxx stores honored Luke Houston, store manager of the Scenic and Oakdale Save Mart in Modesto, Calif., with the 2012 Nicholas J. Tocco Outstanding Store Manager of the Year Award. During the company’s annual management appreciation gala last weekend, 10 nominees for the award were presented.
“The Save Mart banner is very proud that Luke Houston was chosen as the 2012 Store Manager of the Year,” says Ed Popke, VP of Save Mart operations. “Luke has only one speed and that is full throttle; his leadership has improved every store he managed. Sales and profits grow every quarter and his team always gives excellent customer service.”
Houston started his grocery career as a teenager at Gemco and then worked for Lucky stores in the South Bay for 11 years until hired by Save Mart in July 1990. He was promoted to store manager in 1997. He has been a trainer and coach and involved in various programs in the company. This was his fourth time to be honored in the top 10.
“I am both honored and humbled by my selection,” Houston says. “I am fortunate to have an outstanding staff and to have been associated with and inspired by some excellent leaders throughout my career.”
David Gonzales of Save Mart on North Milburn in Fresno and Rich Alstad, nominated for his management last year of Save Mart on Standiford Avenue in Modesto, were named first and second runners-up, respectively.
This year’s other Nicholas J. Tocco award nominees include:
• Tony Angoletta: Save Mart store in Riverbank;
• Vince Messina: FoodMaxx store on Lone Tree Way in Antioch;
• Rick VanMatre: Save Mart store on West Goshen Avenue in Visalia;
• Kelly Bizzini: Save Mart store in Ripon;
• Joe Ribeiro: S-Mart Foods on Quail Lakes Drive in Stockton;
• Tom Brooks: Save Mart in Paradise; and
• Vince McFarland: Save Mart on South Tracy Boulevard in Tracy.
The Store Manager of the Year Award, presented by Save Mart Supermarkets owner and Chairman Bob Piccinini, was created in honor of the late Nicholas J. Tocco, co-founder of Save Mart Supermarkets. Nominees for the award must meet the company’s standards for store performance, customer service and community involvement. The winner receives an etched blown-glass vase, travel certificate and cash. Runners-up receive a cash award and all nominees receive a framed certificate.