Meijer Store Director Henry Samaniego, in Hudsonville, Michigan, is among 10 finalists for the 2019 Food Marketing Institute’s Store Manager Awards.
The award celebrates store managers across the country who generate sales growth, provide great customer service and play an integral role in the community. This year, more than 80 individuals were nominated for the recognition.
“It’s phenomenal, it’s pretty humbling,” said Samaniego, who has worked at Meijer for almost six years. “There is no way that I’d have the opportunities I have today without the support of my family and all the awesome teams I have been a part of, especially my current team in Hudsonville.”
Samaniego started at Meijer in 2013 as a product flow line leader at the Petoskey supercenter, and quickly began leadership training. He served as the Ludington Meijer store director for one-and-a-half years before he was identified to lead the July 2018 opening of the Hudsonville Meijer, which serves as the retailer’s latest format for stores built this year.
“When we decided to join the Hudsonville community, we wanted to make sure it was led by a strong and personable store director who could encourage the team, lead by example and build relationships with our customers. Henry was the clear choice and has done an exceptional job,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said. “We are excited but not surprised that he’s been recognized as one of the best in the industry.”
Samaniego said he really feels like his store is part of the community. Since its opening, the store has contributed to various efforts, including a donation to the Hudsonville-Jenison Community Foundation in support of the Grand River Greenway Campaign, another to Jamestown’s Patmos Library to build a new teen creative room, and a donation to Hudsonville High School to support its schoolwide Kids Food Basket events.
“The Hudsonville community is so welcoming. This last year has been an awesome experience,” he said. “I feel like I’ve worked for this company my whole career because of how welcoming everyone has been.”
Samaniego said developing his team is the focus behind his leadership style.
“As you grow in your career, you come to understand that it’s not about you. It’s about what I can do for my team,” he said. “Being the leader of the store is great but having the opportunity to work with such great people every day is even better. It’s hard work every day, but we do have fun and the team can feel that.”
The awards will be announced in May at FMI’s Future Leaders eXperience conference.
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer that operates more than 240 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. It is a privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934.