The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) honored four grand prizewinners on April 30 for its 13th annual Store Manager Award presentation at FMI’s professional development conference, Future Connect.
Winners were selected among 10 category finalists. They are recognized for their work in store operations, leadership, and community involvement.
“The outstanding pool of store manager nominations showcases the diversity and passion of food retail managers,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “In an industry that caters to the unique needs of the customer, nothing is more important than strong, nimble leaders who champion innovation within their stores and support local community concerns.”
The four winners are:
Category A (1-49 Stores): Maggie McLaughlin, Roche Bros., Wellesley, Mass.
McLaughlin has been the store manager of the Roche Bros. store in Wellesley, Mass., for five years. She began her career with Roche Bros. as an entry-level cashier and received continual promotion due to the urgency, attention and receptiveness with which she handles each situation. Customers in her store almost never wait in line; she trains all employees on register so they can assist when needed. McLaughlin takes great pride in mentoring associates.
The last two associates promoted to store manager were from her store, and one of her department managers was recently promoted to a corporate position as meat merchandiser. A key to her leadership style is making sure her associates are knowledgeable on both “the how and why” of the business, empowering employees at every level to make decisions and contributions to better the store.
The store has witnessed an upward trend of 2.5 percent in sales over the last year despite new competition in their market.
McLaughlin is an active part of her community and excels at making the community an active part of her store. Over the past year, the store has hosted students from a local acting troupe and a jazz group the local high school to perform for customers. The store also hosted a Party Expo showcasing their catering department as well as local vendors.
Category B (50-199 Stores): Fernando Noriega, United Supermarkets LLC, Amarillo, Texas.
Noriega leads a team of more than 300 associates at one of the highest-volume stores in the chain. His store has been among the top three for United Supermarkets in store profit for the past three years. In 2012, Fernando’s location had a 5.9 percent total profit while store profits increased nearly 19 percent. The store fares equally well in the company’s external metrics; the most recent guest satisfaction overall score for Fernando’s store was 9.06 out of 10.
Noriega leads his team by example, which is most notable through his community outreach efforts. In the past three years, Noriega’s team has championed corporate fundraisers. A company program that creates in-store teams to participate in community volunteerism named Noriega’s team as the company’s outstanding UCrew in 2012.
Noriega’s leadership and mentoring is evident in the promotion and retention of his employees. Four of the past five associates named to GM in the company were promoted from within his store.
Category C (Over 200 Stores): Greg Giles, BI-LO LLC, Simpsonville, S.C.
Giles has been the store director at BI-LO in Simpsonville for 15 years. In 2012, Giles saw a seventh straight year of sales growth, up 4 percent, and a 7.25 percent earnings improvement. Giles’ store consistently ranks in the top five stores in sales each week, despite surrounding competition from large national chains and during a major remodel of his store.
Giles motivates his team to achieve these outstanding results by sponsoring an internal sales competition each week. In an innovative show of store collaboration, Giles partnered with a local department store to promote and sell floral and bakery items for Valentine’s Day and weddings.
Giles is recognized as an outstanding leader both in the store and across the district. He has received the company’s President’s Award for Leadership. He annually serves as an official mentor for less experienced store directors, and when the district director is on vacation, Giles is often asked to supervise the district.
Within the community of Simpsonville, Giles’ team continually exceeds all fundraising goals through the BI-LO Charity Classic and has a strong relationship with the Laurens County Food Bank.
Category D (International): Jun Oshima, Yaoko Co., Ltd., Saitama, Japan. (Photo at top)
Oshima spearheaded monumental changes in his first year at Yaoko Kawagoe Matoba store in Saitama, Japan. He joined the project team nearly a year before the store opening, enabling him to architect his vision of a horizontally connected store that would focus on the benefit to the customer, rather than a more traditional aisle layout.
Oshima demonstrates his desire to cater to the customer through his interpretation of company-wide promotions. When the company ran a full-page advertisement to promote “The Great Fish Sale,” Oshima integrated the idea into every department in his store, creating displays, product placements and meal suggestions.
The Yaoko Kawagoe Matoba store is already recording significantly higher performances than projected, thanks to Oshima’s focus on generating sales and profit. The store is projected to impressively exceed its anticipated first-year sales.
The 10 finalists received two complimentary registrations for Future Connect and three nights of hotel accommodations in Orlando, Fla. The four grand prizewinners each received a $1,000 prize and a crystal award during a ceremony recognizing their achievements.