Food Marketing Institute on Tuesday unveiled four grand prize winners for its 2013 Store Manager Award presentation at the association’s professional development conference, Future Connect.
The winners were Maggie McLaughlin of Roche Bros. in Wellesley, Mass.; Fernando Noriega of United Supermarkets in Amarillo, Texas; Greg Giles of Bi-Lo in Simpsonville, S.C.; and Jun Oshima of Yaoko Co. in Saitama, Japan. They won in the small, medium, large and international operator divisions, respectively.
“The outstanding pool of store manager nominations showcases the diversity and passion of food retail managers,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, 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 10 finalists each received two complimentary registrations for Future Connect and three nights of hotel accommodations in Orlando. The four grand prize winners each received a $1,000 prize and a crystal award during a ceremony recognizing their achievements.
McLaughlin has been the store manager of the Roche Bros. store in Wellesley for five years. She began her career with Roche Bros. as an entry-level cashier, and now trains all employees on the register so they can assist when needed. McLaughlin also spend a lot of time mentoring, and two of her employees have been promoted to store managers, and another to the corporate office. The store has seen sales rise 2.5% over the last year despite new competition in the market, and McLaughlin is also active in community involvement in the store.
Noriega leads a team of more than 300 associates at one of the highest-volume stores in the United Supermarkets chain. His store has been among the top three for United Supermarkets in store profit for the past three years. In 2012, Noriega’s location saw store profits increase nearly 19%. The store fares equally well in the company’s external metrics — the most recent guest satisfaction overall score for his store was 9.06 out of 10. He is alos active in the community and in developing his employees — four of the past five associates named to general manager in the company were promoted from within his store.
Giles has been the store director at BI-LO in Simpsonville for 15 years. In 2012, his store saw a seventh straight year of sales growth, up 4%, and a 7.25% earnings improvement. His 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 by sponsoring an internal sales competition each week. In an innovative show of store collaboration, Greg partnered with a local department store to promote and sell floral and bakery items for Valentine’s Day and weddings. He is also a mentor for less experienced store directors.
Oshima spearheaded monumental changes in his first year at Yaoko Kawagoe Matoba store in Saitam. He joined the project team nearly a year before the store opening, thus 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,” he integrated the idea into every department in his store, creating displays, product placements and meal suggestions. The store is projected to exceed its anticipated first-year sales.
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