FMI Connect

Sarasin announces Store Manager Award winners

Store managers from Northgate Gonzalez, Big Y, Kroger, Overwaitea and Festival Foods were among those recognized with FMI’s 2016 Store Manager Awards at FMI Connect, Wednesday.

“Our Store Manager Awards recognize the achievements of top operators who are truly invested in their local communities and we’re so pleased to honor and celebrate the unique talents among these grocery heroes,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI during a keynote session. “In order to more widely share the stories of our finalists, FMI hosted its second-annual Store Manager People’s Pick Award Facebook contest and doubled the engagement compared to last year, with nearly 8,000 votes during the week-long contest, plus hundreds of comments, shares and likes.”

The Store Manager Award winners each receive $1,000 and a crystal award, with the People’s Choice winner receiving $500 to celebrate with his store employees.

The 17th annual Store Manager Awards Winners are:

• Category A (1-49 Stores)
: Alberto Ayala, Northgate Gonzalez Market, Los Angeles.
 According to FMI, “Ayala’s firm ties to the community and his commitment to catering to an urban environment with diverse tastes contributed to his success. His employees know that his core business priorities are differentiation, operational excellence and a winning environment. Ayala has opened several stores under the chain, and he leaves each one as a profitable operation.”

• Category B (50-199 Stores)
: Piotr Soja, Big Y Foods, Northampton, Mass. FMI said, “For Soja, going the extra mile for his staff delivered more profit to the bottom line and earned his store #1 in the company for employee satisfaction and engagement. He has shown the highest degree of commitment to creating and continuing partnerships with local growers, manufacturers, and vendors.”

• Category C (200+ Stores):
 Josh Birmingham, The Kroger Co. Columbus Division, Holland, Ohio. “
Building a solid staff and acknowledging the team members’ achievements is Josh Birmingham’s secret for record sales in establishing Kroger’s first Marketplace store. Birmingham blended two store cultures together, and his team of 260 associates served more than 1.5M customers in 2015,” according to FMI

• Category D (International)
: Ted Pigeon, Overwaitea Food Group, Victoria, British Columbia
. Noted FMI, “Pigeon has focused on sound communications throughout his 36-year career at 15 different stores in nine B.C. communities. Pigeon increased sales by 12.7% over the last year, and in addition to increasing sales, he has raised store standards by increasing productivity, executing programs, insisting on store cleanliness, minimizing holes and increasing profitability.”

• 2016 Store Manager People's Pick Award: 
Jon Wieser, Festival Foods, Green Bay, Wis.
 “Wieser and his team are active in Green Bay Public Schools and the New Community Shelter, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and even serve as math tutors at a local elementary school. Wieser had garnered 2,893 Facebook votes at the conclusion of the contest,” according to FMI.

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