Image
Top Women In Grocery 2022.hero article
Advertisement
06/15/2022

2022 Top Women in Grocery: Store Managers

Progressive Grocer honors this year's awards program winners in Store Managers category

Progressive Grocer’s 2022 Top Women in Grocery awards program recognizes the integral role women play across all segments of the North American food retail and grocery industries. This is the 16th year for the food retailing industry's longest running program recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of thousands of women at all levels in the industry.

Females employed in all sectors of the grocery industry – from the retailer, wholesaler, supplier and solution provider communities – were nominated for above-and-beyond achievements in subsequent categories:

  • Senior-Level Executives (titles of Vice President or higher)
  • Rising Stars (titles lower than Vice President and Area/Region Director)
  • Store Managers (titles of Store Manager/Director/Leader and Assistant Store Manager/Director/Leader)

The following are the Store Managers honored in this year’s Top Women in Grocery awards.

Image
twig 22 store

Faith Bridges

Manager, Food Lion Store #839, Suffolk/Portsmouth, Va.

  • A strong leader known for sharing best practices, Bridges focused on creating a welcoming environment for both customers and staff, resulting in a two-point hike in her store’s Associate Engagement Survey score last year and a Net Promoter Score above 80%. 
  • During her leadership, same-store sales and items per transaction increased from 2020, and every fresh department saw a double-digit increase in sales over last year, with deli/bakery growing by 15%.
  • Bridges’ store sold more than 1,900 Holidays Without Hunger food boxes, which were donated to the local food bank; she also initiated a program to deliver food and gifts to 300 local seniors. 
Image
twig 22 store

Connie Dixon-Williams

Store Manager, Food Lion Store #2635, Greenville, N.C.

  • Dixon-Williams’ store received the highest possible rating on every Food Lion To Go metric last year; she grew store sales, beat budget by 24% and reduced shrink by nearly a half percent in 2021. 
  • A manager who understands the importance of leading by example, she continually mentors and encourages associates to develop their careers in the store and the organization; as a result, her store achieved a 90% Associate Engagement Score.
  • When area public schools shut off water fountains to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Dixon-Williams donated Food Lion water bottles to elementary and middle schools, and she and her staff personally delivered them. 
Image
twig 22 store

Candace LaNasa-Youmans

Store Manager, Food Lion Store #2837, Sylvania, Ga.

  • As manager at her previous store, LaNasa-Youmans boosted staff morale and created a “Count on Me” culture that led to a turnaround for the location with increased sales and profitability; her last week at the store set a record, with the store outperforming sales budget. 
  • At her newest location, a mixture of employee recognition and development and engaging social media content contributed to a 20% increase in sales.
  • LaNasa-Youmans facilitated the donation of nearly 20 pallets of water and sports drinks to local emergency personnel and high school teams, and ran a holiday toy drive to sponsor families.
Image
twig 22 store

Robin Olshenske

Store Manager, Food Lion Store #1468, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

  • Olshenske oversaw a remarkable turnaround by developing relationships with associates and customers, leading to best-in-class safety ratings, strong in-stock results despite supply challenges, and high Net Promoter Score numbers; she also often had the top same-store sales store in the chain.
  • Having received high ratings from employees — an 89% on the 2021 Associate Engagement Survey — Olshenske strove to develop talent into high performers, and her associates achieved success within the organization.
  • In recognition of her achievements, Olshenske was named Food Lion’s 2021 Store Manager of the Year.
Image
twig 22 store

Crystal Smith

Store Manager, Food Lion Store #2529, Gretna, Va.

  • The Trunk or Treat outdoor Halloween event that Smith created for neighborhood families during the pandemic has grown from a gathering in the store’s parking lot to a large event that the store partnered with the town of Gretna to execute last year.
  • Her focus on coaching associates has resulted in a solid base of trained key associates and future-leader bench strength; she improved the department manager staff and developed confident, trained leaders.
  • Smith built strong relationships that translated into deeper customer loyalty; she also delivered in-stock and affordable shopping for customers across every department and contained shrink.
Image
twig 22 store

Rosemary Babyak

Store Manager, The Giant Co. Store #6513, Maple Glen, Pa.

  • With the help of the district director, center store, fresh management and the warehouse, Babyak helped the Seeds of Hope food pantry restock its dwindling food supply. 
  • When Maple Glen was devastated by flooding caused by Hurricane Ida, she provided comfort to customers stranded at the store and organized a food drive that donated countless bins of food to the local food pantry.
  • Babyak’s store surpassed expected financial performance in sales and labor controls, delivering money to the bottom line, despite being budgeted to lose money; additionally,the store’s retention rate surpassed the brand average.
Image
twig 22 store

Patricia Del Guercio

Store Manager, The Giant Co. Store #6243, Allentown, Pa.

  • With a focus on finding everyone’s talent, Del Guercio promoted more than 20 employees, including coaching and training seven of them for lead or department manager roles within the store.
  • Her store continued to grow sales after 2020 with comps increasing nearly 9%; she cross-trained employees across the store and hired another 10 employees to support e-commerce sales, which grew by 5%.
  • Recognizing the need to support the overall well-being of her staff, Del Guercio created a self-care space/meditation corner within her store for employees; she’s also working on a mental health workplace first-aid certification.
Image
twig 22 store

Anne Kough

Store Manager, The Giant Co. Store #6331, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

  • Kough oversaw the construction and a successful deployment of e-commerce in her store, including the first locker system in the region, and put together a team that in three weeks achieved the highest score in customer satisfaction.
  • She serves as co-lead for the company’s women’s business resource group, which provides opportunities for collaboration with other businesswomen to provide value and resources, and to close the gap on inequality.
  • In her leadership role in the Regional Diversity Cohort Group, Kough helped organize field trips, community involvement, and speakers on business topics ranging from mental health to P&L reviews.
Image
twig 22 store

Kira Butler

Store Manager, Giant Food Store #131, Baltimore

  • Under Butler’s leadership, the store made 121% of its profit-and-loss sales budget, met its fresh gross/shrink budgets and improved nonperishable shrink (nearly 50% better than budget), all while reducing store operational expenses by one-third and direct labor by two-thirds.
  • Her store was twice recognized in 2021 by the chain as the district winner for having the highest score for brand standards, and she was named Store Manager of the Year for her region.
  • Beyond her daily work duties, Butler volunteered to be the healthy-living ambassador for her entire district, and is currently working with local fitness vendors to create workout options for store employees.
Image
twig 22 store

Dionne Martin

Store Manager, Giant Food Store #147, Fort Washington, Md.

  • Under Martin’s leadership, her store beat total food sales by more than 20%, while same-store sales increased 11% over last year, and her focus on fresh departments led to meeting the store’s gross profit goal while reducing shrink.
  • She was named manager of a new store that opened in November 2021; grand-opening sales crushed the company’s previous record.
  • While managing her previous store, Martin took part in the Ward 8 revitalization program, in Washington, D.C., which included active interaction with District of Columbia council members to improve awareness and safety regarding the store and its surrounding communities.
Image
twig 22 store

Mallory Kate Monteiro

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0098, New Bedford, Mass.

  • Monteiro instituted programs to help mitigate shrink, particularly in departments where most theft occurs; by reviewing online pickup reports with associates, she reduced her out-of-stock metric by half.
  • After reviewing the new billing process template, she worked with leaders to learn the format and created a how-to guide to help her peers understand it as well.
  • Monteiro cross-trained associates to make them better able to serve customers, and her meetings with associates led to a better, safer work environment; these creative ideas have been recognized by HR and senior leadership.
Image
twig 22 store

Garadean Olson

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #2593, Crotona, N.Y.

  • Despite complex challenges and a serious competitor a few blocks away, Olson improved overall standards and out-of-stocks at both stores she was assigned to; she substantially improved one store’s sales trend and drove positive sales and units at the other store, creating a competitive selling culture.
  • She embraced the e-commerce challenge and grew both internal and external e-commerce sales exponentially.
  • Olson created excitement in regard to company campaigns, driving awareness and improving overall donations in both locations she oversaw, and kept her team engaged with weekly meetings and daily coaching. 
Image
twig 22 store

Lynn Palumbo

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0714, Cranston, R.I.

  • By staying focused on controllable items during an uncertain time, Palumbo kept her store well merchandised and ended the year with an impressive positive sales trend that was the best in her district. 
  • A valued resource for peers who often seek her expertise and for associates who want to grow within the company, she mentored three associates last year, providing the guidance, resources and tools to help them achieve their goals of becoming assistant store managers.
  • Palumbo worked as lead partner with Rhode Island organization Amos House on three block parties that fed more than 250 people and promoted healthy living and fun for area residents.
Image
twig 22 store

Lina Restrepo

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0616, Greenwich, Conn.

  • An emigrant from Colombia who didn’t speak English when she arrived in this country, Restrepo was hired as a bagger at Stop & Shop in 2006, went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in 2010 and worked her way up the ranks to her current position as store manager; her next career goal is to become a center store manager and eventually a director of merchandising. 
  • In just five months at her store, she instituted controls that allowed her to outperform budget and reduce back-room levels. 
  • Restrepo motivated her team to drive the sustainability program and ensured that all nonsellable product went to those in need.
Image
twig 22 store

Lisa Silvia

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0736, Westerly, R.I.

  • Silvia was her district’s fundraising lead for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer event, and a USO fundraiser.
  • Her continued promotion of the e-commerce business contributed to growth in order size and basket size, and helped maintain customer satisfaction on quality, wait times and substitutions.
  • Training and mentoring are Silvia’s strong suits, and she has a talent for recognizing associates’ skills and matching them to new opportunities; she helped train two incoming store managers and four assistant store managers, and developed several part-time associates to take on full-time positions.
Image
twig 22 store

Rachel Sullivan

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0634, Hartford, Conn.

  • By driving store standards and conditions, Sullivan delivered a sales increase of almost $3 million over budget to her store last year, reducing both nonperishable and perishable shrink and achieving profit-and-loss results.
  • Dedicated to building strong teams, she promoted 13 associates to full time positions in 2021; she serves as the district lead for the Women’s Associate Resource Group and on the Multicultural Associate Resource Group. 
  • Sullivan was recognized as the 2021 Sales Operator of the Year, and her peers voted her winner of the Courage Award for her open-minded thinking, bold ideas and ability to drive change.
Image
twig 22 store

Lynn Tavares

Store Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0731 Newport, R.I.

  • Tavares focused on associate and community engagement: She helped promote eight associates and followed up monthly to make sure they remained successful in their careers, and she partnered with the Martin Luther King Center to help fight food insecurity. 
  • She was the recipient of Best in Class for Perishable Shrink, Top Achiever for Own Brands and Operator of the Year awards.
  • Tavares partnered with the Jewish Alliance of Rhode Island to promote healthier food alternatives for the Jewish community, and her store was one of the top drivers for the Cure for Cancer campaign, helping to raise more than $12,000 for cancer research.
Image
twig 22 store

Kathy Scott

Store Director, Balls Red Bridge Sunfresh Store #46, Kansas City, Mo.

  • Scott consistently lived up to the definition of a servant leader who is always mindful of her teammates, customers and community.
  • When nearby businesses had to lay off employees due to the pandemic, she made a point of hiring them to work at her Sunfresh store and also paid them well above the hourly minimum wage; this extraordinary action was written up in the local press.
  • Despite her busy work schedule, Scott is a volunteer with the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, KVC Health Systems, Ball’s Charity Golf Classic and Harvesters.
Image
twig 22 store

Mary Ann Chiecko

Store Director, Big Y World Class Market, East Longmeadow, Mass.

  • With a focus on customer experience, Chiecko helped pilot the MyExpress Checkout scan-and-go mobile solution in her store, and its success was instrumental in the company’s decision to roll out the offering across the chain.
  • Her store saw consistent sales growth of more than 6.4% versus budget and has had favorable net profit results throughout her tenure as store director, including better-than-budgeted net income.
  • Chiecko strongly promoted the Big Y Cares, Sack Hunger and Breast Cancer Awareness programs, as well as a store-level community donation program.
Image
twig 22 store

Casey Piatt

Store Leader, City Market Store #416 and City Market Pharmacy #499, Aspen, Colo.

  • Piatt increased identical-store sales by 5.2%, with EBITDA up 1.7%, and she not only controlled her shrink, but also improved it.
  • She noticed the need for merchandising improvements in the store, which resulted in the integration of a Hispanic section, changes to the flow of the produce department, and the addition of local products. 
  • In addition to being instrumental in introducing and building on the Our Promise team program, which advocates on behalf of all associates, Piatt was a volunteer with the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation and the president of a youth all-star cheer team.
Image
twig 22 store

Jeni Slattery

Store Director, Cub Foods Store, Burnsville, Minn.

  • Under Slattery’s guidance, her store achieved positive sales versus last year, as well as outpacing the total banner performance versus the previous year.
  • She maintained close relationships with city officials, including the mayor, a frequent customer, and they worked together to help grow the community.
  • The store provides meaningful and needed products and supplies for a local food pantry, and Slattery determines what should be put in donation bags for customers to purchase; in return, the food pantry shops at the store when it has grant money, which is augmented by a donation from Slattery.
Image
twig 22 store

Ziggy Antley

Assistant Store Leader, Dillons Store #095, Salina, Kan.

  • Antley guided her store to achieve 2.26% in core sales and 1.23% in EBITDA, leading the division in top sales per square foot, as well as ranking among the top stores in the Kroger enterprise; the location was also the top-grossing store in EBITDA as a percent of sales.
  • As a member of the Women’s EDGE Associate Resource Group, she shared her insights in Kroger’s diversity, equity and inclusion executive listening sessions to provide the leadership team with a deeper understanding of social issues.
  • Antley filled in at another store during the holiday season, resulting in a successful selling season for that location.
Image
twig 22 store

Lauren Golliver

Store Director, Family Fare, Rockford, Mich.

  • Golliver spearheaded a turnaround for her store with key new hires, cross-training for individual growth and a heightened in-store experience; her store sales were around $1 million over target.
  • She invested in her team, successfully coaching high-potential associates to take on key leadership positions.
  • Golliver developed a new-hire toolkit to streamline the onboarding process and better drive associate retention; the toolkit includes department-specific training checklists, management system usage instructions for new associates, benefits, Employee Assistance Program resource details and information on food safety. 
Image
twig 22 store

Connie Cink

Store Director, Family Fresh Market, St. Peter, Minn.

  • Cink achieved an employee turnover rate of 43.6%, leading the company in employee retention. 
  • Her customer-driven store culture consistently delivered profits: In 2021, she exceeded budgeted sales by 4.8% and EBITA budget by 82.4%; through promotion and creative merchandising, her team increased private label penetration by 1.09%, while excellent customer service and engagement increased the store’s customer service score by 3.14% and response rate by 12.81%.
  • Cink appointed a store safety champion to drive home the importance of safety and decrease the number of incidents; frequent meetings, safety recognition and daily communication helped lower the incident rate.
Image
twig 22 store

Amanda Gulley

Store Manager, Food City Store #607, Morristown, Tenn.

  • During supply disruptions, Gulley led her team to find unique and creative merchandising opportunities that have since been adopted chain-wide; she rebranded space to accommodate available products, worked with vendor partners to secure product and pinpointed categories that could benefit from pandemic-related challenges. 
  • Amid mandated restaurant closures, she pivoted to feature foodservice options, leading to a 51.8% increase in category sales, and she also used creative displays to double fresh-made candy sales.
  • As a result of her hard work, Gulley’s store was voted the 2021 People’s Choice by the citizens of Hamblen County.
Image
twig 22 store

Amanda Anaya 

Store Manager, FoodMaxx Store #488, Sacramento, Calif.

  • Anaya’s attention to detail built a culture focused on reducing shrink and improving margins without sacrificing sales, which resulted in her store exceeding budgeted sales by 3% and improving wall-to-wall margin by 0.68%.
  • She achieved a total store gross profit of 23.20%, made $189,109 in profit, beat her bottom-line budget by $60,194, and turned her store into a profitable location this past year; despite leading her team through a remodel, she continued to drive positive sales.
  • In her spare time, Anaya helps coach her son’s T-ball team each spring and leads the FoodMaxx store teams in all community efforts that benefit the local public.
Image
twig 22 store

Jolene Cyr

Store Manager, FoodMaxx Store #489, Vallejo, Calif.

  • Under Cyr’s leadership, her store outperformed sales and labor budgets by 3.56% and 0.27%, respectively, in 2021; EBITA increased by 23 basis points, while the store surpassed budgeted gross profit by 40 basis points.
  • The store won several company-wide sales contests in grocery, bakery and floral; she also works with managers to promote safety awareness, and as a result, the location has gone 237 days without an incident.
  • Throughout the pandemic, Cyr’s store has donating distressed products daily to local food banks; the staff also participates in American Red Cross fundraisers and a free-book program for elementary schools.
Image
twig 22 store

Debra Woodcock

Store Manager, FoodMaxx Store #471, Yuba City, Calif.

  • Woodcock led her 54-employee store to increase its four-wall EBITDA by a staggering 339%. 
  • A proven leader who received Save Mart’s Manager of the Year award in 2020, beating managers from 200 other stores, she has inspired her location to win five company-wide internal merchandising contests for bakery (three times) and produce (twice).
  • Woodcock and her team regularly work with the nearby April Lane Elementary School, providing support as needed, and she frequently collaborates with the Yuba City fire and police departments on Memorial Day festivities, as well as participating in Save Mart’s 9/11 First Responder program. 
Image
twig 22 store

Terri Beck

Store Leader, Fred Meyer Store #682, Maple Valley, Wash.

  • Beck drove year-over-year improvement of 15% in sales for each of the past two years at her store and was consistently in the top three sales in the district, out of a total of 15 stores; in her first full year at Maple Valley, the store increased its profitability by 0.81%. 
  • She also had the largest reduction in safety incidents in the district, which contributed to the financial success of the store.
  • Living up to her reputation as a supportive leader, teacher and mentor within her store and district, Beck ensured that she recruited associates from the local area and worked with schools and local fire/police departments to better serve the community.
Image
twig 22 store

Nicole Smith

Store Leader, Fred Meyer Store #651, Canby, Ore.

  • Smith achieved the No. 1 pickup in-stocks for the fourth quarter, exceeded her sales goal by 3.03%, surpassed controllable costs by 0.19%, had the third-lowest turnover in a 16-store district and reduced shrink by 0.22 basis points.
  • She donated supplies to Share the Love, supported Meals on Wheels through bottle redemption donations, donated toys and costumes to Chelsea’s Closet for the Chelsea Hicks Foundation, hosted an annual Shop with a Cop event, and held a food and hygiene donation drive for a women’s services organization.
  • Smith planned a career event for future leaders and co-developed the first annual Woman of Inspiration Award. 
Image
twig 22 store

Katie Buechel

Store Manager, The Fresh Market Store #094, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • In the face of a major new competitor, Buechel delivered store sales of more than $10 million, beating her planned budget by 15%; her focus on service, speed of checkout and improving in-stock levels led to double-digit growth in comparable-store sales and a rise in guest survey results. 
  • She took calculated risks to grow sales, create a loyal customer base and increase profitability; under her guidance, store presentation and standards have advanced to model levels, making the location a destination for company officials of all levels.
  • Buechel is a leader in her region in store fundraising, community support and local initiatives.
Image
twig 22 store

Ann Kunka

Store Leader, Fry’s Store #694, Phoenix

  • Kunka leads the district in minimizing controllable out-of-stocks to help her team maximize sales, which were favorable at 1.35% versus the budgeted 5.26% decrease for the total year.
  • Mentoring many successful leaders within Fry’s, she used her daily store manager effective walks and morning huddles as avenues to uplift, motivate and discuss sales with her leaders. 
  • In addition to supporting local first responders and various community organizations, she has built a strong culture at her store, resulting in a highly engaged Our Promise team, a group of volunteer associates who work together as liaisons between store management and associates.
Image
twig 22 store

Amy Brown

Store Leader, Gerbes Food Store #116, Eldon, Mo.

  • Brown led her store to achieve the top sales growth for the Dillons division, with an increase of 9%, and beat her sales goal by more than 800 basis points while meeting all of her controllable cost goals and coming in at No. 1 for improvement. 
  • She was in the top 10 for associate engagement in the annual associate feedback survey, thanks to her prioritization of communicating company goals and milestones through daily huddles, store walks, department meetings and hourly walks. 
  • In addition to mentoring her team, Brown is also heavily involved in community activities for the MS Foundation and her area’s Relay for Life.
Image
twig 22 store

Lorresa Lafrancis

Store Director, Harris Teeter #179, Cornelius, N.C.

  • With staffing one of the biggest retail challenges, Lafrancis was diligent about using resources such as Indeed and physical recruiting, enabling her not only to staff her own facility, but also to provide associate support to other area stores. 
  • Under her guidance, three future store leaders completed the Management Development Program and were placed in salaried roles in the district.
  • Investing much planning and time in the physical presentation of her store, Lafrancis visits various competitors weekly for analysis and comparison, and then introduces additional displays and features to provide new buying solutions for customers.
Image
twig 22 store

Pamela Seivert 

Store Director, Osgood Hornbacher’s Store, Fargo, N.D.

  • Despite several staffing challenges, Seivert successfully set hiring and retention goals to ensure that her team would have the ability to properly support guests’ needs and assist staff at another nearby Hornbacher’s store. 
  • Her creative abilities helped bring the annual holidays event to life by showcasing recipe ideas; in her capacity as the Hornbacher’s event leader, she planned the recipes and event details, and communicated instructions to all eight Hornbacher’s store teams.
  • Thanks to Seivert’s leadership, her store was able to raise $43,232 in the Feed Hope campaign during the holidays, and $34,757 during the Summer Check Out Hunger campaign. 
Image
twig 22 store

Tally Mertes

District Store Director, 180th & Pacific Hy-Vee and Omaha Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh

  • In 2021, Mertes led her store to achieve record sales weeks, with a more than 8% overall sales increase for the year, while in February 2022, the Omaha Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh saw four consecutive weeks of record sales.
  • She spearheaded a COVID-19 community vaccination clinic for local educators to help schools reopen, getting about 2,000 teachers, school staff and child care workers vaccinated.
  • Mertes works with young adults who have aged out of the foster care system, leading mock interviews to prepare them for finding jobs and applying to college, and helping facilitate employment opportunities at Hy-Vee.
Image
twig 22 store

Tammy Stock

Store Director, Jewel-Osco Store #3475, Deerfield, Ill.

  • Under Stock’s leadership, shrink was the lowest in her store’s history, sales grew by 4.8% and the store beat expected earnings by 32%.
  • Her store also boasted a flawless health department inspection record, and, despite the labor crunch, was adequately staffed. 
  • As if her day job and serving as an an active member of NextUp and Albertsons' Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network weren’t enough, Stock somehow found the time to prioritize community engagement: She worked with a local police department to supply food and toiletry items for local veterans, and supported area food pantries and the Boys & Girls Club.
Image
twig 22 store

Nicole Davis

Store Leader, Kroger Store #637, Lake Orion, Mich.

  • At Store #637, Davis achieved a 1% increase in sales without fuel and pharmacy; through her leadership, the store also achieved household growth of 9.67% and increased total store customer count/transactions by 9.5%.
  • Handpicked to serve as an advisory council member for her division, she provided feedback from her peers regarding the everyday barriers and issues they faced that affected the customer experience.
  • When a traumatic event occurred at a nearby high school, Davis provided invaluable support to affected associates, even scheduling counseling services at her store, and helped donate water and snacks to grieving students and community members.
Image
twig 22 store

Alba Menendez-French

Store Leader, Kroger Store #592, Franklin, Tenn.

  • Overseeing 180 associates, Menendez-French led her store to bump up its net operating income in the last fiscal year to top $5.26 million.
  • In addition to reducing shrink in perishables, her store achieved the highest rating in Kroger’s customer experience survey measuring “Full, Fresh and Friendly” behaviors for two consecutive quarters; the Franklin location was also recognized as a top performer in 2021 on best practices for the district. 
  • When not busy at her job Menendez-French serves as a member of the Women’s EDGE Associate Resource Group.
Image
twig 22 store

Cora Mauzy

Store Leader, Kroger Store # 992, Indianapolis

  • Mauzy led her team to year-to-year identical-sales growth of 2.90%, while the sales budget was down 7.59%, with a two-year stack for identical-sales growth at 18.15%, and controllable costs were better than the forecasted budget. 
  • She represented her division as a part of Kroger’s executive listening sessions, offering leadership a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion.
  • Mauzy, a U.S. Army veteran, formed a Veterans Associate Resource Group (ARG) in her division and also served on the General Office Veterans ARG Leadership Board and the board of directors at Sans Souci, a nonprofit organization providing job training for the community.
     
Image
twig 22 store

Natashia Neal

Store Leader, Kroger Store # 822, Washington Court House, Ohio

  • Neal’s team stepped up its game and joined the $1 million club for weekly sales, while total annual sales increased by 5.33%.
  • She focused on incremental sales by building show-stopping displays throughout the store and thought outside of the box to use store white space to her team’s advantage, resulting in a 12.36% increase in identical-store sales for the produce department.
  • In addition to being an active participant in various leadership programs and a 4-H volunteer, Neal led her store to achieve a record year in earnings by driving sales and managing the controllable cost for delivering EBITDA.
Image
twig 22 store

Kim Nesser

Store Leader, Kroger Store #817, Dublin, Ohio

  • Nesser guided her store to a 2.9% increase in sales (excluding fuel and pharmacy) with an 8.04% profit rate — $1.5 million better than the prior year; meanwhile household growth was 9.67%; total store customer count/transactions increased by 9.5%; and her store was the top pediatric COVID-19 vaccine provider in the division.
  • When presented with the challenge of mentoring new district of assistant store leaders, she created a seven-week training and development program. 
  • Nesser was also a top executor in merchandising planning, with her store repeatedly selected to host district walks for other store leaders to see correct merchandising planning in action. 
Image
twig 22 store

Brooke Ratliff

Store Manager, Kroger Store #762, Clarksville, Ind.

  • Managing a store in New Albany, Ind., before taking on a new managerial role at a 185-employee store in Clarksville, Ind., Ratliff was recognized for having the best deli and meat shrink rate in her district.
  • She moved strong department managers to other areas to give them more well-rounded experiences; she also regularly hosted division leadership store walks and served on the division store manager advisory council.
  • Ratliff is a member of the local chamber of commerce, belongs to the African-American Associate Resource Group for the her division, and volunteers for various community events, donation drives and church activities.  
Image
twig 22 store

Abby Travers

Store Leader, Kroger Store #907, Martinsville, Ind.

  • Travers drove operational excellence with impactful merchandising displays that garnered multiple accolades, among them inclusion in the top 10 in several sales contests.
  • Her store grew identical sales by 7.4% versus the prior year; reduced shrink to -0.9%, which was a far better result than the district or division shrink percentages, and lowered wait time for pickup to four minutes, beating a previously set wait-time goal.
  • Travers donated food and volunteered at local food banks, dedicated resources to the local school district, raised funds for a store associate who was fighting cancer, and adopted a senior at a local nursing home.
Image
twig 22 store

Janna Rich

Store Leader, Mariano’s Store #543, Lombard, Ill.

  • Directing operations at a store with 225 associates, Rich led her location to earn 15 “perfect” secret shopper scores, and her associate survey engagement score came in at 78% favorable.
  • She was recognized for running one of the top stores in the division for “Full, Fresh and Friendly” behaviors and hit her EBITDA goals; she also guided several associates to managerial roles, mentored new store leaders and helped launch the store leadership development program in the Chicago market.
  • Outside of work, Rich is involved with many associations and nonprofit groups, including Special Olympics.
Image
twig 22 store

Jennifer Yee

Senior Store Leader, Market District Store #6528, New Albany, Ohio

  • Yee successfully guided her store through a format conversion from Giant Eagle to Market District, grew year-over-year sales by double digits and continued to outperform the chain; she delivered outstanding store conditions on a consistent basis.
  • Her leadership has guided several employees to earn promotions: two team leaders to regional specialist positions, and another team leader to senior team leader.
  • Yee is a member of her region’s YWCA and the company’s women’s business resource group, as well as of GRIN, Gahanna Residents in Need, an Ohio organization supporting food drives. 
Image
twig 22 store

Jenny Barnes

Store Director, Meijer Store #66, Springfield, Ohio

  • Barnes turned in a stellar performance amid the pandemic: Her store surpassed financial plans for the fiscal year by 108%, contributed to overall net profit at 181%, met the store labor goal and ranked No. 1 in the region in the area of shrink.
  • A discussion that she had with her team about how cashiers could directly influence the store’s culture, scores and overall results resulted in a 10% increase in cashier performance.
  • Because of her high potential, Barnes was recently chosen to attend the FMI Future Leader Training course, and in her community, she works with the Project Women of Springfield organization, which empowers women and girls. 
Image
twig 22 store

Dawn Caustrita

Store Director, Meijer Store #189, Defiance, Ohio

  • In the past year, Caustrita’s store surpassed the sales plan by 7.1% and achieved 100% back-stock by providing on-shelf availability averaging more than 90%.
  • Shrink was 50 basis points over expectations for the second consecutive year at her store, and her team received high marks in the areas of store sanitation and food safety. 
  • When not leading the associates at her store, Caustrita chairs the Women at Meijer resource group for her region and is a board member of the Mosaic resource group, which focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion; she also serves on the board of her local Humane Society.
Image
twig 22 store

Nichole Cole

Store Director, Meijer Store #178, Aurora, Ill.

  • At a time of chronic supply chain and labor issues, Cole, a Meijer employee since high school who steadily rose through the ranks to become a store manager, still managed to deliver a 2.67% sales increase over plan and a digital sales boost of nearly 45%.
  • Her store donated more than 150,000 meals to local food pantries last year, while the in-store pharmacy hosted several COVID-19 vaccination clinics. 
  • In addition to her busy work schedule, Cole belongs to several employee resource groups; she is co-chair for Women at Meijer in the Western region and also heads up that group’s mentorship program.
Image
twig 22 store

Natalie Rubino

Store Manager, Meijer Woodward Corner Market Store #653, Royal Oak, Mich.

  • Amid the pandemic, Rubino established a large selection of ready-to-eat lunches and dinners from local restaurants, making it easy for shoppers to support area establishments while they couldn’t accept dine-in customers.
  • She hosted a sampling event showcasing a group of 20 minority-owned businesses during the company’s Dream Cruise, giving them a chance to tell their stories and sample their products.
  • Rubino is on the board of directors of the Royal Oak, Mich., Chamber of Commerce, as well as of the Business Women’s Network of Royal Oak, and is a member of the Rotary and Women’s Club in Royal Oak.
Image
twig 22 store

Shannon Risley

General Manager, Niskayuna Co-op, Niskayuna, N.Y.

  • Despite pandemic and supply challenges, Risley increased net income and cash at her store, upping purchases from local vendors to counteract issues and provide customers with much-needed products.
  • She created and implemented formalized quarterly leadership training for department managers on basic leadership and team-building skills, and also taught them to use waste logs to manage shrink and control inventory.
  • Risley hosted food pantry drives resulting in 1,000-plus pounds of food and donations exceeding $1,000, and collected 1,000-plus pairs of shoes and 350 coats for the needy.
Image
twig 22 store

Crystal Marlow 

Store Manager, Publix Store #1471, Largo, Fla.

  • Marlow exceeded her productivity, sales and profit goals in 2021, and managed to reduce her weekly average shrink to be the lowest in her district.
  • She invested in her associates by frequently working alongside them to help hone their skills and build relationships with them, as well as acting as a mentor to many, both in the formal company program and privately with associates who were struggling and needed guidance.
  • Marlow volunteers with community organizations in her spare time, such as being a board member for the Lupus Foundation and being president of the committee that holds the Kids with Cancer Holiday Party.
Image
twig 22 store

Christine Lambiase 

Store Manager, Publix Store #638, Jupiter, Fla.

  • With a leadership style built on positive and open communication, Lambiase encouraged store associates with success and appreciation meetings in her store, and posted customer letters of praise in the break room.
  • Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, she led her associates to a successful year of outstanding productivity and received favorable ratings in her 2021 associate and customer service survey results.
  • Lambiase helped organize projects benefiting the WaveCrest Shelter, Multicultural Resource Center for Children and Families, The ARC of Martin County and Keep Martin Beautiful.
Image
twig 22 store

Jennifer Lomastro 

Store Manager, Publix Store #1538, Loxahatchee Groves, Fla. 

  • Under Lomastro’s leadership, associates felt valued and supported as she worked alongside them; this environment, along with her practice of cross-training associates so that they could develop skills across multiple departments, helped her double her sales goal percentage. 
  • She created specialized development plans for top performers in each department that include coaching, training and preparation for management opportunities.
  • Lomastro volunteers for local nonprofits, as well as such groups as the March of Dimes and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. 
Image
twig 22 store

Maureen McCarthy

Store Director, North Commissary, Fort Bragg, N.C. 

  • Managing 94 employees at the U.S. Army’s most populated installation, McCarthy was instrumental in launching the Commissary Classroom, which helps soldiers view the commissary as a healthy food destination, regardless of geographic duty station.
  • Her team launched Hunger Never Takes a Holiday, a customer donation program that addressed food insecurity for military personnel and families; they also distributed 1,600-plus meal bags during Thanksgiving.
  • By developing a strong rapport with local command and better targeting the underrepresented single-soldier demographic, McCarthy grew the customer base by almost 5%.
Image
twig 22 store

Autumn Hall

Store Leader, QFC Store #850, Bothell, Wash.

  • With a penchant for creating “big, fun” displays, Hall drove impressive sales at her store through merchandising; she often worked with local vendors to feature their products, creating a point of differentiation for her location.
  • At her previous posting, she turned a red store into a profitable one with an impressive EBITDA of more than $400,000. 
  • Spotlighted in a recent company video on leadership, the well-rounded Hall frequently partners with organizations to donate healthy snacks, school supplies and holiday gifts to those in need in her community; she’s also a member of the Women’s EDGE Associate Resource Group and the QFC Store Leader Council. 
Image
twig 22 store

Sara Morrison 

General Manager, River Market Community Co-op, Stillwater, Minn.

  • Since Morrison became general manager, she has provided education to managers and buyers where necessary and made several key hires in leadership positions; these moves have resulted in multiple years of sales growth, including during 2021.
  • She created and implemented new financial tools for managers to guide them to success by enabling them to clearly see the impacts that their decisions were having on sales, cost of goods, shrink and margins.
  • As a way to show appreciation during the pandemic, Morrison created the Big Hug program in collaboration with the restaurant community to incentivize shoppers to patronize local eateries.
Image
twig 22 store

Leanne Califano

Store Director, Safeway Store # 3321, Gig Harbor, Wash.

  • Taking on the role of store manager following the retirement of a 46-year company employee, Califano successfully led the store team through a difficult transition.
  • When a rival retailer moved in across the street during this same period, she was able to face down the competition, achieving flat-to-positive sales through empowerment, engagement, communication and overall leadership of her associates.
  • Califano is a facilitator for Albertsons’ PIC development classes and an assistant store director trainer; she’s also a board member at a credit union, which bolsters her ties with the local financial community and enhances her own financial acumen.
Image
twig 22 store

Cobi Foxx

Store Director, Safeway Store #1159, Newport, Wash.

  • Responsible for a 100-employee store, Foxx habitually went above and beyond; her efforts ranged from earning a pharmacy tech license on her own time as a way to improve customer service to achieving the store’s highest marks for food safety. 
  • Because of her leadership abilities, she was chosen as a district trainer for future leaders.
  • Foxx worked with area schools on a voucher program through which students could come to the store to get fresh lunches; she invited students to take life skills classes at her location, where she showed them how to shop for a weekly meal plan and taught them about different jobs.
Image
twig 22 store

Heather Nasworthy

Store Director, Safeway Store #1849, Scottsdale, Ariz.

  • As a relatively new store director, Nasworthy took the reins of a high-volume seasonal location in the Phoenix area and overcame a staffing shortage to make it a division leader in average volume and EBITDA performance.
  • Experienced in service deli and bakery operations, she assisted on many occasions in product production to help drive store sales; she also made sure to cross-train associates to balance out the needs of each department.
  • Nasworthy acted as an assistant store director mentor trainer and is a member of the Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network associate resource group.
Image
twig 22 store

Katie Bishop 

Store Manager, Save A Lot Store #427, Overland, Mo.

  • Bishop’s store ranked No. 1 in sales among corporate-owned St. Louis stores, with $7.9 million in sales; this resulted in her store being one of just three that beat their pandemic-fueled 2020 sales numbers in 2021.
  • She presided over a corporate-owned pilot store that was chosen as a testing ground for the Save A Lot loyalty program; the location also sells beer and wine.
  • Bishop’s store scored a green level in Regis’ independent inventory and loss audit, the fifth year that her store received this recognition, which is rare and speaks to her ability to consistently stay under 1% in shrink overall.
Image
twig 22 store

Nikki Sturgeon

Store Director, Save Mart Store #612, Redding, Calif.

  • Managing the retailer’s second flagship location; Sturgeon grew transactions by more than $1,000 weekly compared with the previous year, generating a 10% transaction increase; the store also exceeded loyalty acquisition expectations.
  • Her team highlighted local products through successful demonstrations, sampling and events — for example, the Tap Takeover, a recurring event in which the store hosts different local breweries and guest tastings, was implemented in additional stores.
  • After just one year in business, Save Mart Store #612 was nominated for a Best in the North State award in the Best Grocery Store category.
Image
twig 22 store

Lisa Coash

Store Director, Shaw’s Store #2445, Cohasset, Mass.

  • Although Coash’s store is in an area with a limited workforce, it’s adequately staffed, thanks to her belief in cross-training and willingness to help complete tasks when needed; as a result, she outperformed the company average in her associate experience survey. 
  • She often won sales contests and led the company in Cheap Chicken Sales, breaking the record for the most sold in a day.
  • Coash’s tenacity is evident in her strong performance at work and dedication to serving others through local food pantries and toy drives; she kept all commitments last year despite the fact that she was displaced for eight months when her condo burned down.
Image
twig 22 store

Nicole Towns

Store Director, Shaw’s Store #2585, Cedarville, Mass.

  • Assigned to a store ahead of a major remodel, Towns elevated the location and its team through a variety of measures, among them remodeling the breakroom and training a foreign exchange student who was promoted to the assistant store director training program.
  • She maintained positive identical-store sales during construction and resets, and oversaw the rollout of a new e-commerce department; her location is now the second in the district for e-commerce sales. 
  • Towns led a district Turkey Bucks campaign that raised the most money of any campaign in Shaw’s history; she’s also a Women’s Inspiration & Inclusion Network member at Albertsons.  
Image
twig 22 store

Nancy Mahoney

Store Manager, ShopRite of Somers Point, N.J.

  • Dedicated to growing talent in the industry, Mahoney mentored two recently promoted female store managers, and half of all store managers in the district worked as assistant managers under her leadership.
  • Under ongoing pandemic protocols, she launched a new communications software to keep employees informed and let them know that they were appreciated; her team had a participation rate of 88% in the software program, the highest engagement in the company.
  • During daily temperature checks of employees, Mahoney used the time to check in with each individual associate on a personal level, which helped maintain team morale.
Image
twig 22 store

Lori Garofalo

Assistant Store Director, Skogen’s Festival Foods, Holmen, Wis.

  • Garofalo developed new leaders with an easygoing teaching style that helped them gain skills and confidence.
  • Proving herself to be a champion of food safety and decreasing shrink, she led her store’s response to a power outage affecting 24 refrigerator cases, saving more than $10,000 in potential losses, while bakery showed a 0.55% improvement in shrink.
  • Garofalo created a model for assistant department manager meetings at her store that’s now used at sister locations, and she also excelled at implementing in-store events like the Pumpkin Blowout, a community venue involving local high school students and 4-H Clubs.
Image
twig 22 store

Lorraine Madden

Store Manager, Smart & Final Store #926, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.

  • Last year, Madden’s location achieved one of the region’s highest customer service ratings, easily beating sales and profit budgets.
  • An excellent employee trainer, she encouraged staff members to study for their Retail Management Certificate, as she herself successfully did; several of these employees were subsequently promoted within her district.
  • Having battled lupus for most of her life, Madden worked with groups to help raise awareness of the medical condition and ultimately seek a cure; she also committed a significant amount of personal time to helping heart and stroke organizations.
Image
twig 22 store

Stephanie McWatters

Store Leader, Smith’s Store #496, Albuquerque, N.M.

  • McWatters was promoted to a high-level store in Albuquerque in April 2021 — the same store where she first worked a courtesy clerk.
  • She beat projected budgets for identical-store sales, labor, pickup and fill rate, and met goals in “Full, Fresh and Friendly” metrics; her location serves as a training store and was the site of the pilot for a Zebra device rollout in the division. 
  • McWatters’ team consistently donated to Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste food rescue program; meanwhile, away from work, she volunteered as a cheer coach and at local food banks and homeless shelters. 
Image
twig 22 store

Jennifer Czech

Store Manager, Tom Thumb Store # 2574, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Overseeing 137 associates at one of the highest sales-generating stores in the division, Czech improved year-over-year sales by 9.6% and drove quarterly EBITA results up 12.8%.
  • After the implementation of such changes as a new floral department and expanded produce and fresh-made selections, sales in those areas were up by significant levels; she and her team were recognized for their financial achievements with membership in the company’s Million Dollar Club.
  • As well as serving as a mentor both unofficially and as part of formal store director training, Czech volunteered for company and community events. 
Image
twig 22 store

Stacy Kleibert

Store Director, Tom Thumb Store #2581, Frisco, Texas

  • Tasked with building the sales, morale and staff at her store, Kleibert transformed the location, which was running up by 13% in 2021; her store is among the top three in the district for EBITDA and was first in a key customer service metric.
  • As a result of her excellent team-building efforts, Kleibert was chosen to be district hiring lead, in which capacity she onboarded 859 new associates in a mere four months. 
  • As part of her ongoing commitment to serve the community surrounding her store, Kleibert hosted the local Girl Scout troops in the Starbucks area of the supermarket for their monthly meetings, providing cupcakes and hot cocoa for the girls.
Image
twig 22 store

Tami Appleby

Store Manager, Tops Store #610 Bradford, Pa.

  • Appleby led her team in executing exceptional daily store presentations, merchandising and overall store conditions; these efforts produced an 8.3% increase in sales over the previous year, increased profits and led to significant EBITDA growth.
  • Key to her success has been her ability to interact, empower and foster a team approach; she identified, trained and developed key associates to the important roles of operations manager, grocery manager and night operations manager.
  • Appleby consistently hits fundraising goals set for the store, raising almost $3,500 for Children’s Miracle Network, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a local nonprofit.
Image
twig 22 store

Erica Dawsen

Store Director, Vons Store #2784, San Diego

  • Dawsen surpassed goals for both gross and EBITDA for the year, and her location turned in a performance that landed it in the top 10% of the division during one quarter; while improving financials, she also shored up safety. 
  • She built her deli up from having only four employees and no manager to a department aiming to make $50,000 a week.
  • With Dawsen’s support, the store raised $10,000-plus for a nonprofit organization providing meals to needy families during the holidays; she also teamed up with the San Diego Padres to make meals for food-insecure families and volunteered during San Diego Pride Week.
Image
twig 22 store

Jena Good

General Manager, Walters Hometown Grocery/Shelton’s Grocery, Walters and Waurika, Okla.

  • Good used her blog and social media accounts to educate customers on hot-button industry issues like rising prices due to inflation, supply chain problems, and issues that independent grocers face in regard to big-box retailers, as well as legislation in her state that directly affects the grocery industry.
  • Valuing her role as a mentor to school-age employees, she supported them beyond their work in the store by encouraging their extracurricular endeavors such as sporting events and various club activities.
  • Good recently joined the Oklahoma Grocers Association’s inaugural class of young grocers, NextGen.

ALSO WORTH READING