The 2020 Top Women in Grocery: Store Managers

The 2020 Top Women in Grocery: Store Managers


Progressive Grocer recognizes 350 extraordinary women this year who join the ranks of the Top Women in Grocery. These women strengthen the retail food industry at many levels, within both the retailer and supplier communities.

Top Women in Grocery is a community that has continued to grow since 2007, with the best and brightest women in the industry.

Honorees are recognized in one of three categories: Executive-Level, Rising Stars and Store Managers. Below you find an incredible group of 61 Store Managers.

WENDY WATSON Store Manager, Hannaford #8447, Ballston Spa, N.Y.

Wendy Watson

Store Manager, Hannaford #8447, Ballston Spa, N.Y.

  • Winner of Hannaford’s 2019 Store Manager of the Year, Watson made a critical difference at three separate locations. During a key selling season at the seasonal Lake Placid, N.Y., store, she provided effective leadership and training, and improved operations overall.
  • At Hannaford’s new Ballston Spa, N.Y., store, she staffed the store during the lowest unemployment rate in recent history, and then facilitated a barn-raising event for the 125 new associates, forging a team spirit.
  • Watson participated in a dance marathon raising several thousand dollars for needy families.
MARY MCEVOY Store Manager, Stop & Shop #0422 and Pharmacy Store #0398, Edgartown, Mass.

Mary McEvoy

Store Manager, Stop & Shop #0422 and Pharmacy Store #0398, Edgartown, Mass.

  • The five-aisle stand-alone pharmacy store that McEvoy manages attained the highest cosmetics sales for the region, because of its attention to island-specific needs, while the sales trend for Store #0422 was ninth best in the region.
  • She met challenges head-on, using them as teaching tools when appropriate.
  • McEvoy participates in the annual Crop Walk for Hunger and encourages her children to be involved in community service activities such as the blanket drop and coat drive at a local clothing donation site.
RACHEL RAZZANO Store Manager, Stop & Shop #0526, East Northport, N.Y.

Rachel Razzano

Store Manager, Stop & Shop #0526, East Northport, N.Y.

  • Razzano was the first to lead her team through the Project Shore rebranding strategy, making her location the model store for Long Island, N.Y., in regard to setting standards and introducing such new concepts as a hot bar, smoker, café and online pickup.
  • Recognized by her peers for her leadership qualities, she successfully guided eight new full-time promotions into their new positions.
  • Razzano and her team support various community organizations and, over the holidays, sold charity boxes for needy families, raising more than $20,000 for these causes.
JENNIFER RUOCCO  Store Manager, Stop & Shop #0647, Milford, Conn.

Jennifer Ruocco

Store Manager, Stop & Shop #0647, Milford, Conn.

  • Ruocco is the store manager lead for her district’s Rising Star Program, which devises individual training plans that are designed to enable full- and part-time associates to take on increasingly higher-level positions. 
  • She’s also on a team of store managers and district directors chosen to facilitate developmental classes for managers in the company’s Central Market.
  • Ruocco was the catalyst for getting Stop & Shop’s sponsorship of the Milford Oyster Festival approved, and she and her team volunteered to set up, host and take down both of the grocer’s booths at the event.
ADRIANNA HUTESON Store Manager, Albertsons #3106, Puyallup, Wash.

Adrianna Huteson

Store Manager, Albertsons #3106, Puyallup, Wash.

  • Managing a team of nearly 100 employees, Huteson has led her team to five years of increased profitability, reducing shrink over several years and improving productivity in the past year.
  • She led training and instructional classes for her colleagues and fellow employees in the Seattle division, focusing on person-in-charge (PIC) training and financial skills classes.
  • Viewed as a role model in her district, Huteson also taught an “Extraordinary Productivity” seminar, since she executes programs and processes in her store at a high level.
TRICIA HAY Store Director, Cooley Street Big Y World Class Market, Springfield, Mass.

Tricia Hay

Store Director, Cooley Street Big Y World Class Market, Springfield, Mass.

  • Hay successfully served as a best practices peer group coach/mentor, leading her team to more effective problem solving, improved efficiencies that lowered expenses, and increased sales; the effort contributed to the company’s strong financial results.
  • She was instrumental in her store’s ranking as one of the top three performers in its district in food safety, digital engagement and customer engagement.
  • Committed to the communities Big Y serves, Hay works closely with local food banks and also serves on the grocer’s scholarship committee, which distributes 350 awards annually.
TONYA WESTBROOK Store Director, Brookshire’s #61, Whitehouse, Texas

Tonya Westbrook

Store Director, Brookshire’s #61, Whitehouse, Texas

  • Westbrook led her team to outperform its sales budget by 4.9% and surpass its gross profitability goal by 61 basis points in 2019 — and she’s on track for a similar performance in 2020.
  • With a reputation for stellar store merchandising and a tight control on expenses, she outperformed her labor budget by 39 basis points. Her employee turnover rate, which is lower than the company average, exemplified her leadership skills.
  • An “ambassador” for Brookshire Grocery Co. within the Whitehouse, Texas, community, Westbrook and her team support a number of local organizations.
ALLISON HAGEDORN-ZIEGLER Store Director, Cub Foods Uptown, Minneapolis

Allison Hagedorn-Ziegler

Store Director, Cub Foods Uptown, Minneapolis

  • Hagedorn-Ziegler operated Cub Foods’ leading store in e-commerce, her percentage of e-commerce sales to total sales was the chain’s highest, and her location was among the banner’s top-performing stores in the area of customer satisfaction in e-commerce.
  • Known as enthusiastic participants in community events, she and her team built a special display to support Minneapolis’ Pride Festivities last spring.
  • Hagedorn-Ziegler volunteers with the nonprofit Help at Your Door, one of whose initiatives is getting food to elderly people with no other way to obtain it.
MERALIE ERVIN Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency, MCB Quantico Commissary, Quantico, Va.

Meralie Ervin

Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency, MCB Quantico Commissary, Quantico, Va.

  • Ervin created her own warehouse organization and functions initiative, the ERVIN (Early Recovery of Vendor Inefficiencies Notes) Report, allowing stores to verify total negative dollars contributed by loss or an ineffective vendor stocking program.
  • Her program resulted in increases in stock replenishment efficiency, increased inventory-to-sales-ratio measurements and decreased shrinkage.
  • Ervin and J.M. Smucker Co. served a free breakfast to 6,000-plus service members and their families, among others.
MELQUIADETH SUPINGER Assistant Commissary Officer, Defense Commissary Agency Spangdahlem AB Commissary, Spangdahlem, Germany

Melquiadeth Supinger

Assistant Commissary Officer, Defense Commissary Agency Spangdahlem AB Commissary, Spangdahlem, Germany

  • Charged with leading a new team to create and execute a total store reset, Supinger worked with employees and industry professionals to implement new shelving and product merchandising, with minimal interruption for customers.
  • She developed a new warehousing plan for more efficient stocking during the store reset.
  • As the new leader of her team, Supinger mentored employees and forged a cohesive group that worked together to deliver outstanding results.
BUFFY STARKEY Store Leader, Dillons #5, Garden City, Kan.

Buffy Starkey

Store Leader, Dillons #5, Garden City, Kan.

  • Starkey has created a mutual relationship with a nearby elementary school to help Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste and Feeding the Human Spirit initiatives by donating food items, collaborating with teachers and volunteering her time.  
  • After a challenging remodel, she increased sales and focused on retention, with a 34% decrease in turnover from 2018, and another 9% last year. 
  • Starkey is also a big-sister mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and an inaugural member and communication chair for the Young Professionals Associate Resource Group.
AMY BERRY Store Director, Family Fare Store #1990, Hastings, Mich.

Amy Berry

Store Director, Family Fare Store #1990, Hastings, Mich.

  • Berry excels at creative merchandising; when her store received summer-themed candy, associates built a carnival tent to showcase it.
  • Her store’s promotion of Michigan-made products led to sales lifts on the displayed items of 141.6% over the prior year, with quantity sold 99.6% higher than the prior year and a whopping 174.9% increase in profit dollars.
  • In a particularly delicious fundraising effort, Berry, her family and friends hold an annual cookie party to which they bring all kinds of cookies to exchange, along with donations for a different kids’ charity every year.
ERIN RUSSELL Store Manager, Food City #620, Vonore, Tenn.

Erin Russell

Store Manager, Food City #620, Vonore, Tenn.

  • Russell and her Food City store associates attributed their success to community involvement, including her work as a diplomat for the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce and seat on the board of directors for the Monroe County School Health Advisory Council.
  • Her store saw a huge sales increase of 14.2% last year, and customer counts were up by 2,000 per week.
  • As a participant in K-VA-T’s Empower initiative, Russell helps develop future female leaders in the grocery industry, and she works closely with her associates to develop their abilities through cross-training and coaching.
ANNA GRAHAM Store Leader, Foods Co #387, Soledad, Calif.

Anna Graham

Store Leader, Foods Co #387, Soledad, Calif.

  • Under her leadership, Graham’s store finished in the top five Food 4 Less/Foods Co’s stores in 2019 for general merchandise sales, floral sales, front end service, and shrink.
  • She graduated from the Western Association of Food Chains’ Retail Management Certificate Program and was chosen to participate in the Women’s EDGE leadership program.
  • Graham and her store supported the Soledad Police Department with its National Night Out and Holiday Giving Tree events, made donations to help Soledad Medical Clinic’s Harvest Fresh Prescription event, and supported the Salvation Army.
DEANNA FELLENSTEIN Store Leader, Giant Eagle #6381, Mentor, Ohio

Deanna Fellenstein

Store Leader, Giant Eagle #6381, Mentor, Ohio

  • Fellenstein guided her liquor team through a full store remodel while at the same time growing sales and doubling her wholesale in-store liquor business.
  • She strove to improve the experiences of both team members and customers through her participation on the Giant Eagle Store Leader Council, and also served as her region’s Guest Service Champion.
  • As the liaison between two Giant Eagle regions and the American Heart Association, she coordinated fundraising and participation in the Cleveland Heart Walk and helped raise more than $100,000 this past year.
SANDRA LADSON Senior Dual Store Leader, Giant Eagle #4025, Fairlawn, Ohio, and Giant Eagle #5861,  Akron, Ohio

Sandra Ladson

Senior Dual Store Leader, Giant Eagle #4025, Fairlawn, Ohio, and Giant Eagle #5861, 
Akron, Ohio

  • Ladson launched a curbside and delivery service for one store that exceeded its target by 89% in the first eight months of operation; the first location was so successful that a second location is set to adopt the service.
  • She led a team through a store remodel, keeping the location open throughout, even during holidays, and avoiding any construction/remodeling incidents.
  • In partnership with the Akron-Canton Food Bank, Ladson has been a Regional Harvest for Hunger Champion for the past four years, helping to raise $1 million a year.
SHEENA MARAVICH Store Leader, Giant Eagle #1282, Mentor, Ohio

Sheena Maravich

Store Leader, Giant Eagle #1282, Mentor, Ohio

  • Maravich consistently delivered strong financial results and exceeded her store’s sales budget through seven periods. Her commitment to safety and compliance resulted in outstanding internal audit scores.
  • She received the 2019 Giant Eagle Clean Store Award for demonstrating exemplary sanitation efforts.
  • Among her volunteer efforts, Maravich served as her region’s 2019 American Heart Association Heart Walk Champion, leading the fundraising to help combat heart disease and stroke. 
SHELLEY STACK Store Manager, Gordon Food Service Store, Mishawaka, Ind.

Shelley Stack

Store Manager, Gordon Food Service Store, Mishawaka, Ind.

  • Stack successfully tested new concepts, including fresh-made guacamole, chicken rotisserie and broasting programs, in her stores so they can be rolled out further this year.
  • Her store sponsored all Notre Dame home football games; she and her team manned the sponsor tent at every home game, in the process adding more than 7,000 new customers to the store’s loyalty program.
  • The respect and leadership she gave to her employees led her store to maintain the lowest employee turnover in the region.
CATHY MOLONEY Store Manager, Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society Inc./White River Junction, Vt.

Cathy Moloney

Store Manager, Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society Inc./White River Junction, Vt.

  • Moloney elevated the organization’s social mission, spearheading dozens of community service programs, collecting thousands of pounds of food with her team for the area food bank and raising more than $30,000 for area nonprofits through Pennies for Change. 
  • Her store achieved 6.68% sales growth, the largest in the cooperative, and had net savings before taxes that surpassed projections by more than $183,000.
  • Moloney led the education on, and elimination of, single-use plastic bags at the register. 
JACQUE GILLIARD Store Director, Harris Teeter #410, Charleston, S.C.

Jacque Gilliard

Store Director, Harris Teeter #410, Charleston, S.C.

  • Gilliard led a number of her team’s efforts to minimize food insecurity in her community, packing 2,000-plus ready-to-eat Thanksgiving dinners and volunteering at the Low Country Food Bank; she also promoted Harris Teeter’s Together in Education program.
  • Her store improved its budgeted operating profit by $884,000, and she broke two sales records, earning a dollar profit award.
  • Express lane business grew under Gilliard with the best-to-date scorecard measuring customer service levels.
DONNA MAXWELL Store Manager, Harris Teeter #487, California, Md.

Donna Maxwell

Store Manager, Harris Teeter #487, California, Md.

  • Maxwell organized a one-day sales event with an outdoor farmers’ market, barbecue and crab boil that yielded an additional 21% in sales that day and a positive sales trend for the quarter, and led to her being given the company’s Big Black Pen award.
  • Harris Teeter selected Maxwell for its leadership training program to prepare her for higher positions within the company.
  • She gives her time and support to a number of community organizations, including the Girl Scouts of America, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen and FOP Lodge 24.
KIMBERLY SHELLEY Store Manager, Harris Teeter #403, Olney, Md.

Kimberly Shelley

Store Manager, Harris Teeter #403, Olney, Md.

  • The community benefited from Shelley’s work with the chamber of commerce, Community Bridges (a nonprofit for young women), Cornerstone Montgomery (behavioral health services) and three local PTAs.  
  • She hosted numerous store events that drove sales and spread excitement among departments, such as a tie-dye party for a Starbucks drink release and nontraditional holiday celebrations like the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
  • Shelley built pride among employees and customers with the slogan “There’s only one Olney!” appearing on T-shirts and more.
TARA JO BROWN Store Director, Hy-Vee, Mount Ayr, Iowa

Tara Jo Brown

Store Director, Hy-Vee, Mount Ayr, Iowa

  • Hy-Vee recognized Brown in its Hall of Fame for her community efforts, including as president of the Mount Ayr, Iowa, chamber, and member of the Chamber Retail, Pheasant Forever and the Aquatic Center committees, in 2019.
  • She had numerous weeks of record sales and profits at her store, seamlessly integrated a new pharmacy, and topped the competition, with the only other competitor in town closing its doors last year.
  • In February 2020, Brown was promoted to a district store director with increased responsibilities that included relocating and overseeing two stores.
ANNA STOERMER Store Director, Hy-Vee, Liberty, Mo.

Anna Stoermer

Store Director, Hy-Vee, Liberty, Mo.

  • Stoermer was promoted to a new store in 2019, and in addition to keeping a remodel process moving forward, she took on an additional role mentoring assistant managers in the Kansas City metro area by meeting with employees from all 30 area locations.
  • She also plays a major part in writing the ads for Hy-Vee’s Kansas City market, in this way helping to improve sales for the market as a whole.
  • By pushing her team in a strong yet relatable way and implementing new processes, Stoermer has reduced her store’s expenses significantly in a short time period.
SUSAN GIORDANO General Manager, Inserra Supermarkets ShopRite of Wallington, N.J.

Susan Giordano

General Manager, Inserra Supermarkets ShopRite of Wallington, N.J.

  • Giordano was selected as designated supervisor of the Inserra Supermarkets Store Management Training Program, overseeing the day-to-day training and mentorship of program candidates.
  • She emphasized community outreach, often bringing her store on board: For instance, the location received the Inserra Supermarket Partners in Caring Top Fundraising Award, and her team bought holiday gifts for needy families instead of throwing a party with the prize money.
  • At the store, increased sales, positive trends in units and growing customer counts bore testament to Giordano’s work.
REA NOYES General Manager, Inserra Supermarkets ShopRite of Ramsey, N.J.

Rea Noyes

General Manager, Inserra Supermarkets ShopRite of Ramsey, N.J.

  • This year, Noyes established an ongoing volunteer program with the Center for Food Action, a local food bank, and had unprecedented success with the Partners in Caring Program, even winning a coveted photo on a special-edition Cheerios box for her efforts.
  • Noyes has a strong track record of mentorship, with three of her assistant managers being promoted to general managers in the past 12 months.
  • Inserra Supermarkets recognized her with one of the company’s highest accolades, the Above and Beyond Award, for her communication, attitude, team building and performance.
KATHRYN HANUS Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3343, Elgin, Ill.

Kathryn Hanus

Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3343, Elgin, Ill.

  • Hanus improved overall standards throughout her store, increasing sales and gross profit; she improved sales by $2 million-plus annually— $39,000 a week, or 6.97% — and increased gross margin by $438,000, or 6.74%.
  • She reduced shrink by 0.83 bonus points, from 4% to 3.18%, and reduced wages by $2,300 per week, saving her store $120,000; her bottom-line EBITDA improved by more than $500,000 from the prior year, and she earned consistently high Green/Green key audit scores.
  • Hanus leads regular gatherings with parents, teachers and first-graders in her store for reading and math clubs.
TRACEY HARTFORD Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3192, Orland Park, Ill..

Tracey Hartford

Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3192, Orland Park, Ill..

  • Hartford increased EBITDA by $100,000 versus the prior year, per quarter for four consecutive quarters, and also increased identical-store sales by 2 % to 6% per quarter versus the prior-year same quarter.
  • She trained two fellow store directors, four assistant store directors, two grocery assistants and three new department managers, accomplishing this with her strict adherence to the Jewel-Osco training manuals, constant follow-up and leadership by example.
  • Hartford was nominated by her peers to serve on the Store Director Council.
MISTY RAINS Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3088, Silvis, Ill.

Misty Rains

Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3088, Silvis, Ill.

  • Rains improved her store sales by $585,000 during the fiscal year, equating to a 4.36% year-to-date sales increase, while her two-year sales identical stack was 5.16%; she completed the fiscal year with a 100% Green/Green internal-audit score of both food safety and sanitation, bringing her run to three years of achieving this status.
  • She helped guide the advancement of three associates into management roles.
  • Rains is VP of the Silvis Business Association, a Girl Scout Troop leader, a Junior Achievement volunteer and a Sherrard Area Soccer League volunteer.
SHELIA WHITIKER Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3234, Chicago

Shelia Whitiker

Store Director, Jewel-Osco #3234, Chicago

  • Whitiker’s store earned 99.61% of the sales projection under her direction and had a record- high sales year of $36,163,997, or 5.6% better than the year prior, with a gain of an additional $4,244,397 versus the prior year.
  • Dedicated to the professional development of her associates, she mentored her assistant store director, who was promoted to a store director position.
  • In 2019, Whitiker raised $28,000 for Holiday Bucks, ranking No. 10 out of 188 stores, and in the top 100 of the worldwide enterprise; additionally, her store ran a record 116% increase over the prior year.
LAUREN SHOUL Lead Store Director, Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland, Cardiff, Md.

Lauren Shoul

Lead Store Director, Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland, Cardiff, Md.

  • Shoul planned and executed a full-store remodel, leading her team throughout the process with minimal impact on sales, despite the store’s small footprint.
  • She organized a number of community-focused activities, winning the region during the Partners in Caring fundraiser and Cheerios contest, coordinating Bag Hunger Day for Cardiff, and donating to local organizations for the store’s grand reopening.
  • Shoul’s store had the highest sales growth of any in the chain during this period, and she mentored four associates who were promoted to the position of team leader or higher.
ANDREA GUNKLER Store Leader, Kroger #784, Lexington, Ky.

Andrea Gunkler

Store Leader, Kroger #784, Lexington, Ky.

  • Gunkler has been recognized for her leadership, communication and focus on teamwork. She conducts “stay interviews” with each member of her team, cultivating emotional connections and promoting their own growth as leaders.
  • This past year, she was promoted to store manager at a flagship store near the University of Kentucky, and while the HR coordinator was out for four months, she took on the role.
  • Gunkler led her store to donate more than 6,100 pounds of food, and she dedicates her time to Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.
CINDY HEMPHILL Store Leader, Kroger #684, Knoxville, Tenn.

Cindy Hemphill

Store Leader, Kroger #684, Knoxville, Tenn.

  • Drawing on her expertise in coaching, teaching and setting expectations regarding processes and best practices, Hemphill was able to improve her store team’s performance significantly in a short time, due to her leadership and focus on working and thinking differently to achieve the desired results.
  • In 2019, her store had the highest percentage of talent promoted within District 4, where she served as an excellence training manager and ran a district training store.
  • A supporter of several nonprofit groups in the Cedar Bluff community, Hemphill was recently recognized by The Lions Club as the top retail partner in the area.
SHELBY HETTINGER Store Leader, Kroger #971, Columbus, Ohio

Shelby Hettinger

Store Leader, Kroger #971, Columbus, Ohio

  • Hettinger takes care of her employees and has increased trust and integrity among her team, as evidenced by a greatly improved Associate Insights Score, a 21% improvement in retention and a better shopping experience for customers.
  • She led her team to win multiple selling challenges, including the Bowl Game Selling Challenge and multiple Saturday Selling Contents, with identical sales up in produce/floral, deli/bakery and pharmacy.
  • As a result of her ability to lead and drive results, Hettinger was selected to serve on the Store Manager Bench Program to mentor aspiring store leaders.
AMY HYSMITH Store Leader, Kroger #35, Houston

Amy Hysmith

Store Leader, Kroger #35, Houston

  • Hysmith’s leadership made her store a top performer, consistently achieving daily standards at 85% and succeeding in both selling initiatives and fundraising campaigns.
  • She was chosen to manage the test store for the Houston market’s first multicultural set, and her feedback on the plan was crucial to the improvements in, and further implementation of, the Hispanic set.
  • Hysmith is active in fundraising for the La Porte Boys Baseball Associations, and was previously an officer on the Deer Park Independent School District board; additionally, she spends her free time volunteering at the Houston Food Bank.
ANNA MCWATERS Store Leader, Kroger #616, Douglasville, Ga.

Anna McWaters

Store Leader, Kroger #616, Douglasville, Ga.

  • As a direct result of her leadership, McWaters’ store was selected as the champion store for the Atlanta division to pilot a new in-stock project this year.
  • McWaters guided her district to raise $33,754 to support the fight against pancreatic cancer, leading to its designation as district champion for the Purple Pansies Campaign last September.
  • McWaters’ store achieved 3.1% positive same-store sales, minimizing shrink loss while maximizing profits and decreasing turnover; she also implemented new solutions that were a catalyst in achieving department-specific goals, such as a front end QueVision goal.
EVELYN MILLER Store Leader, Kroger Marketplace #447, Lebanon, Ohio

Evelyn Miller

Store Leader, Kroger Marketplace #447, Lebanon, Ohio

  • Celebrating 40 years with Kroger in 2020, Miller was appointed to run the Lebanon Marketplace last year. It was undergoing a major remodel at the time, and she turned around sales, improved the in-stock position and ranked No. 1 in the district on shrink reduction.
  • Her passion for people led her to help promote seven department leaders in the past year alone, as well as holding daily huddles and one-on-one department leader connections.
  • A member of the Terrific Women in Giving organization, Miller suppots Dayton Children’s Hospital through fundraisers.
KATHIE NANCE-ASKEY Store Leader, Kroger #436, Covington, Ga.

Kathie Nance-Askey

Store Leader, Kroger #436, Covington, Ga.

  • Nance-Askey’s store was chosen to host the district for holiday selling standards, and the location was recognized for various store events, such as being named No. 1 in the district for rib-selling events.
  • She served as the mentor manager throughout her district and the division, personally supporting hourly associates as they entered the Management Training Program.
  • In the community, Nance-Askey is deeply involved with the Pete Nance Boys and Girls Club in Greensboro, Ga., started in 2011 with an endowment fund in the name of her father.
MICHELLE SMOLENSKI Store Leader, Kroger #857, Delaware, Ohio

Michelle Smolenski

Store Leader, Kroger #857, Delaware, Ohio

  • When she took over her store, Smolenski had one-on-one conversations with associates to better understand their perspective and design her leadership approach. Her store now frequently achieves the highest ranking on mystery shops.
  • She grew sales, improved freshness, improved the pickup fill rate, achieved 100% on back stock worked and truck completion, and overcame a dismal scan and replenish rate.
  • Among other activities, Smolenski is a member of the Columbus Division Our Promise team, which develops plans to engage and recognize associates.
MEAGHEN SORRELL Store Leader, Kroger #836, Dayton, Ohio

Meaghen Sorrell

Store Leader, Kroger #836, Dayton, Ohio

  • As a new store leader, Sorrell led her store to the top 10 in the division in identical sales, before quickly being promoted to a new store, which would hold a grand reopening; she and her team have increased identical sales by an average of 25% there.
  • She has developed a partnership with the county board of trustees, a community link previously missing in store feedback.
  • Sorrell was selected to serve as a member of the division’s first President’s Council, recognized as part of the division’s Talent Day and acknowledged as a high-performing store leader.
DONNA BIERBAUM Store Director, Martin’s Super Market #6. Elkhart, Ind.

Donna Bierbaum

Store Director, Martin’s Super Market #6. Elkhart, Ind.

  • For every compensation increase, service anniversary and birthday, associates received a mailed congratulatory card signed by Bierbaum, her assistant store director and the store’s HR business partner.
  • At Christmas, her store held a Christmas dinner where every associate received a present, and the location regularly gave out “Lunches on Us” to employees as small thank-yous for covering a shift or otherwise going above and beyond.
  • As well as being a big supporter of the area’s local schools, Bierbaum makes the in-store community room available for local events, including weddings.
DAWN CAUSTRITA Store Director, Meijer #189, Defiance, Ohio

Dawn Caustrita

Store Director, Meijer #189, Defiance, Ohio

  • Under Caustrita’s leadership, her store team took part in the 2019 Relay for Life and sponsored an event to raise money for new playground equipment that was subsequently installed at Independence State Park.
  • She was also instrumental in getting the Defiance Police Department to consider Meijer for their Shop with a Cop event, something that hadn’t been done for 19 years; the resulting event was a resounding success.
  • The success of Caustrita’s store came from her regular  encouragement of associates to work harder, take a positive attitude and provide better service for customers.
EMILY LYNCH Store Director, Meijer #50, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Emily Lynch

Store Director, Meijer #50, Grand Rapids, Mich.

  • Lynch successfully completed a store remodel while sustaining customer service metrics in all categories, including growing “greet” by 532 basis points from the previous year; part of her success came from her talent in building morale, such as helping to cook steaks for all three store shifts.
  • She drove the development of 12 team members into leaders, helping them become people who were able to take on various promotional roles within the Grand Rapids, Mich., market.
  • Lynch is currently developing a store director in training who will  enter the formal store director development program.
ANGIE MUCKRIDGE Store Director, Meijer #204, Camby-Mooresville, Ind.

Angie Muckridge

Store Director, Meijer #204, Camby-Mooresville, Ind.

  • Muckridge’s exemplary leadership resulted in her exceeding Store #204’s sales growth target for 2019, with her team posting a 1.61% sales gain even with a remodel going on.
  • She consistently provided a professional environment in which associates were encouraged and enabled to build skills and develop their careers.
  • Known as a great community partner who works diligently on enriching lives in the communities she serves, Muckridge delivered 1,300 pairs of Hanes socks in an effort to keep local homeless people warm during the winter, among other activities.
TRACEY SIMON Store Director, Meijer #113, Corunna, Mich.

Tracey Simon

Store Director, Meijer #113, Corunna, Mich.

  • Simon’s continued focus on cost savings resulted in excellent results for her store, which led the market and region for multiple weeks of fiscal year 2019.
  • She and her team also received top accolades in the surrounding community for the store’s grocery, produce, bakery, adjacent gas station and pharmacy.
  • Simon volunteers her spare time at Blue Star Mothers, an organization that supports our troops overseas; as the mother of a son in the military, she has found comfort joining with other moms to make care packages to send to service members far from home.
DESSIE SZKLANY Store Director, Meijer #307, Stow, Ohio

Dessie Szklany

Store Director, Meijer #307, Stow, Ohio

  • Szklany was specifically selected to open the Stow location in Cleveland, in a new footprint for Meijer, because of her engagement, leadership and connection with her previous teams.
  • Her ability to build a new team of associates from the ground up proved vital to the success of that new market.
  • Delivering strong customer service and team-building metrics, Szklany hired more than 400 brand-new Meijer associates, and her store tied for first place for highest team member engagement; she also became deeply involved with local organizations in her new community.
HOLLY LORENZANA Store Leader, Ralphs #70, Woodland Hills, Calif.

Holly Lorenzana

Store Leader, Ralphs #70, Woodland Hills, Calif.

  • When Lorenzana was named manager of Ralphs #70, the store was negative in EBIDA; over the next year, she and the store team improved sales by $315,000 in 2019.
  • With an expert eye on expense control, they were able to save more than $9,000 in department supply expenses that year.
  • Lorenzana introduced innovative ideas to motivate associates and create a culture of positivity and support, including daily team-building exercises and peer-on-peer mentorship; the store was also recognized by Taft High School for supporting the surrounding community.
SIMONE APPLETON Store Director, Safeway #1680, Silverdale, Wash./Interim Director of E-commerce Operations, Albertsons Cos./Seattle Division

Simone Appleton

Store Director, Safeway #1680, Silverdale, Wash./Interim Director of E-commerce Operations, Albertsons Cos./Seattle Division

  • Running day-to-day operations for the division’s 11 home delivery stores and 42 drive-up-and-go locations, Appleton served as the main liaison between corporate business owners/support leaders and division leaders.
  • She stepped into the role from her usual role as a store director, transitioning to her new position with excellent results.
  • As well as being an active member of the Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network, Appleton mentors and coaches women informally. 
KANDI ARMSTRONG Store Director, Safeway #2728, Seward, Alaska

Kandi Armstrong

Store Director, Safeway #2728, Seward, Alaska

  • Armstrong reduced out-of-stocks at her store by 25% within a three-week time frame, and slashed back-room inventory/days on hand by five days and almost $50,000 for the period, all while maintaining sales.
  • Part of the company’s succession-planning process, she covered for center store operations specialists on occasion and mentored junior store directors.
  • Armstrong gives time to several local organizations, including those that serve schoolchildren and seniors; her efforts have been recognized with an award from United Way for Outstanding Community Leadership.
KENDRA BENOIT Store Director, Safeway #2729, Puyallup, Wash.

Kendra Benoit

Store Director, Safeway #2729, Puyallup, Wash.

  • Benoit was chosen to open a new store in Puyallup, Wash., the fourth location she was asked to open and lead.
  • This store has exceeded expectations for sales and EBITDA, and excelled in other metrics in large part because of her efforts in training and mentoring a high-performing team.
  • Active in her community, Benoit regularly attends city council meetings, Chamber of Commerce forums and community outreach programs, and volunteers at women’s and animal shelters; she also supports the Edgewood Community Picnic.
ALINA (ALLIE) BRUSILOVSKY Store Director, Safeway #2246, Denver

Alina (Allie) Brusilovsky

Store Director, Safeway #2246, Denver

  • Currently supervising 100 employees at a complex store in the heart of Denver, Brusilovsky has run three stores over the past five years.
  • In the latest fiscal year, she led positive 12.2% sales and a 7.62% increase in profits, and also improved shrink by 25 basis points.
  • Brusilovsky is a member of 2020 Denver Division Diversity Council, as her store boasts a 55% diverse management staff, compared with a 35% district average. Outside of work, she supports a not-for-profit inner-city dance school and is a partner in a local housing association.
RACHEL MCCROREY Store Director, Safeway #768-7, Castro Valley, Calif.

Rachel McCrorey

Store Director, Safeway #768-7, Castro Valley, Calif.

  • McCrorey’s store, with average weekly sales of around $1 million dollars, beat the store’s EBITDA goal by more than $400,000 for the previous fiscal year, far exceeding the division average; further, her store beat gross and shrink targets.
  • Her leadership and financial accomplishments spurred the company to invest in a full remodel of her store, which is currently delivering 8%-plus identical-sales increases.
  • McCrorey is leader for diversity and inclusion, and a strong proponent of coaching, teaching and training.
VERONICA MENDOZA Store Director, Safeway #2448, Portland, Ore.

Veronica Mendoza

Store Director, Safeway #2448, Portland, Ore.

  • A subject-matter expert in meat department operations, Mendoza was often called upon as a dependable player in store grand-opening preparations and other projects.
  • She played a crucial role in the reduction of total store shrink results from more than 5.9% to 3.8%, accomplished division-leading sales, and assisted in the rollout of, and provided guidance for, an industry-leading pharmacy program.
  • Mendoza has achieved exceptional food safety results, with five consecutive Green/Green food safety inspections. 
HANNAH RAETZ Store Director, Safeway #1842, Salmon Creek, Wash.

Hannah Raetz

Store Director, Safeway #1842, Salmon Creek, Wash.

  • Raetz was moved from the lowest-volume store in the district to a store falling in the top three in sales when her predecessor, Connie Gourley, was diagnosed with cancer; inspired by Gourley, Raetz led a blood drive and auction that raised about $5,000.
  • She also dedicated the entire 2019 fundraising campaign for the company’s annual Turkey/Santa Bucks event to Gourley; the end result was Store #1842 finishing first in the Portland division, with $55,277 raised.
  • Raetz led her team to achieve division sales targets and surpass the prior year’s identical-store EBITDA.
MEDIHA REZVIC Store Director, Safeway #2631, Beaverton, Ore.

Mediha Rezvic

Store Director, Safeway #2631, Beaverton, Ore.

  • A results-driven store director with a special ability to get others to see more within themselves, Rezvic was set to beat her EBITDA by $297,000 in Q4 and consistently maintained a customer experience score above 4.7.
  • She inspired loyalty in her associates by building their confidence through consistent support and positive coaching.
  • Rezvic’s compassion for others was inspired by adversity: Born in Bosnia, which her family left during the war, she arrived in America with her siblings and worked her way up from the position of Safeway courtesy clerk, a job she began at the age of 16.
TARSHA CUNHA Store Director, Shaw’s, Beverly, Mass.

Tarsha Cunha

Store Director, Shaw’s, Beverly, Mass.

  • As a mentor of employees within and outside her district, Cunha has a reputation for providing support, direction, guidance and advice while encouraging mentees to make their own decisions.
  • She helped her store win the Shaw’s and Star Market community service award for the second year in a row and grab the slot as the No. 1 fundraising store in the division last year; for instance, for the town’s Random Acts of Kindness Day, her store went for broke, delivering 100 random acts of kindness.
  • Cunha’s store consistently meets its financial commitment, resulting in rewards for her team.
BARBARA LUFKIN Store Director, Shaw’s, Medway, Mass.

Barbara Lufkin

Store Director, Shaw’s, Medway, Mass.

  • Lufkin was integral to a systems rollout in the division and continued to support the project by developing and reviewing training materials.
  • Her store is consistently among the top performers on Shaw’s customer experience survey, and her efforts have resulted in increased store sales and EBITDA; according to employees, she creates an energetic workplace.
  • A passionate advocate for the homeless, Lufkin is a frequent volunteer at shelters. For her store, she organized a Trick or Trunk event with the local Boys and Girls Club,and a Toys for Tots event with the Marine Corps.
KATHERINE HANSMANN Store Manager, Smart & Final, Roseville, Calif.

Katherine Hansmann

Store Manager, Smart & Final, Roseville, Calif.

  • Hansmann and her team beat their store sales budget by 15.28% and surpassed their store controllable profit budget by more than 40%, achieving these milestones while meeting their labor budget and crushing their shrink budget.
  • She helped create and execute one of Smart & Final’s biggest sales-driving initiatives, which beat the company’s private label sales goal by more than 5%.
  • Hansmann works with local charities like the Heart Walk and assisted shelters during the devastating Northern California fires in the summer of 2019.
VANESSA MULLER Store Leader, Smith’s #491, Santa Fe, N.M.

Vanessa Muller

Store Leader, Smith’s #491, Santa Fe, N.M.

  • Muller’s store received a 77% overall associate engagement score in 2019, a 1% increase from 2018, and a tremendous accomplishment given the state of the business at the time of the survey.
  • She held daily huddles, trained assistant store managers and department leaders, and held team Q&As to improve communication; additionally, associates were recognized with uplift notes, customer comments, and more.
  • Muller and a team of representatives from her district won first place for their Albuquerque Pride Parade float.
IRENE MUNOZ Store Director, Tom Thumb #3621, Las Colinas, Texas

Irene Munoz

Store Director, Tom Thumb #3621, Las Colinas, Texas

  • Running one of the most profitable stores in the division, Munoz has beat EBITDA every single quarter since she has managed Tom Thumb #3621 and exceeded her financial projections.
  • She served as a division trainer/mentor for up-and-coming store directors and acted as a role model throughout the district for many of the new managers.
  • VP of the diversity leadership board for Albertsons’ Texas division, Munoz is involved in the company’s Women’s Inspiration and Inclusion Network, and supports Susan G. Komen and Toys for Tots, among others.
MARY GRIFFITH Store Manager, Tops Store #535, Carmel, N.Y.

Mary Griffith

Store Manager, Tops Store #535, Carmel, N.Y.

  • Griffith improved store sales and profitability by lowering the total store shrink rate by 50 basis points; she managed to increase total store sales despite a negative trend in retail pharmacy sales.
  • Dedicated to creating a culture that revolves around perpetuating remarkable customer experiences, she included associates in the planning process, developing their skill sets and making them integral members of the team.
  • At the Cupcake Festival that supports the Miles of Hope Foundation. Griffith and her team raised more than $3,000.
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