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2024 Top Women in Grocery: Store Managers

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

Progressive Grocer’s 2024 Top Women in Grocery awards program recognizes the integral role women play across all segments of the North American food retail and grocery industries. 

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)

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

Our profiles illustrate the many different paths that these women took to achieve their current levels of achievement in the realms of retail, CPGs, marketing, tech and more, but two things are true of all of the honorees: their absolute dedication to this business that we all revere, and their determination to make it even better. 

Store Managers

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Tina Allston

Manager, Food Lion Store #2687, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

  • Allston managed the second-highest-volume store in her region; same-store sales for the Myrtle Beach, S.C., store increased 7% in 2023; operating profit for home delivery increased 9%; and the store achieved a 96% food safety score.
  • She stepped up to support other stores in her region without losing momentum at her own location; for example, she helped coordinate the opening of three new stores in her region.
  • When Meals on Wheels needed a supplier for three months, Allston’s store provided food to the organization every week; she also rallied her associates to sell more than 2,000 food boxes as part of Food Lion’s annual Holidays without Hunger initiative.

Kristie Bay

Manager, Food Lion Store #2816, Pelzer, S.C.

  • Bay led her store through a successful grand re-opening: It subsequently recorded a same-store-sales increase of nearly 20% for the year and posted food safety and workplace safety scores of 95% and 97%, respectively.
  • She used routine store walks to ensure not only that conditions were maintained consistently, but also to train associates on the spot; her efforts have paid off in customer satisfaction, as the store’s net promoter score has increased by 21 points.
  • Bay was one of the first store managers to embrace a new productivity system, the Electronic Production Planning tool, which led to a 12% boost in customer loyalty rewards.
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Caryn Conover

Manager, Food Lion Store #2160, Bear, Del. 

  • Conover’s store previously struggled to compete against several well-known chain grocery stores in the area — and associate morale was low; under her leadership, which is centered on building strong relationships within her team, the store saw a 10% improvement in same-store sales and a reduction in shrink.
  • Her store was fully staffed despite a difficult recruiting environment, with turnover decreasing by 26%.
  • To serve the local community, Conover coordinated donations to local food banks and recently made a $2,300 donation on the store’s behalf to a home for pregnant teenagers.

Renee Cook

Manager, Food Lion Store #1338, Apex, N.C. 

  • Staffing and recruitment were a challenge in the affluent city where Cook’s store was located, so she focused on cross-training associates to make sure that they were available wherever they were needed most.
  • Even though the store was undergoing a remodel, Cook grew operating profit by 15%; Food Lion To Go pickup and home delivery sales grew by 4%-plus.
  • Cook hired four associates with autism through a partnership with the Autism Society of North Carolina, which ensured that they learned the skills to succeed both inside and outside the workplace; additionally, students with special needs worked in the store.

Sacari Hamlett

Manager, Food Lion Store #0900, Red Springs, N.C. 

  • Hamlett was a mentor for incoming store managers in her region, sharing notes she put together during her own first year; as a result of her efforts, she was named a Store Manager of the Year for her region in 2023.
  • She served as a project manager to support other stores within her region undergoing remodels, and she was also the region’s team lead on the Council for Workforce Dimensions, Food Lion’s scheduling platform.
  • In addition to her involvement in Food Lion Feeds, Hamlett recently helped establish a food pantry at a middle school in an area with a high percentage of food-insecure families. 

Brittany Humphrey

Manager, Food Lion Store #1696, Adairsville, Ga. 

  • During 2023, Humphrey transitioned from managing a store in Yorktown, Va., to one in Adairsville, Ga.; while she was running the Yorktown store, sales increased 11% and customer count increased by 6%.
  • She helped train customer service managers in her region, including many at stores she didn’t manage, and she represented her region on the Council for Workforce Dimensions, Food Lion’s scheduling platform.
  • Humphrey was named a Store Manager of the Year for her region in 2023, and she volunteered with the Food Lion Feeds hunger relief initiative.

Thelma Nichols

Manager, Food Lion Store #1603, Dalton, Ga.

  • Nichols runs the second-highest-volume store in her region, which she led to a nearly 20% increase in same-store sales and a 10% increase in customer transactions.
  • She took on an additional role as regional recruiting specialist, helping to cultivate talent for 42 stores in the region by hosting career fairs and screening candidates; she was also involved in training store managers and customer service managers how to onboard new associates. 
  • Two of Nichols’ team members received Fresh@Home Awards, one for produce, where department sales increased nearly 6%, and one for deli/bakery, where same-store sales increased more than 9%.  

Angela Robinson

Manager, Food Lion Store #2197, Clayton, N.C.

  • Living directly across the street from her store, Robinson used her neighborhood’s Facebook page to connect with her community.
  • In 2023, her store increased cut fruit sales by more than 130%, boosted Shop & Earn engagement by nearly 20%, grew sales by approximately 10%, closed the shrink gap by $14,000 and led the division in Halloween pumpkin sales.
  • Robinson’s success this past year culminated in her being named Store Manager of the Year for both her region and division; she was one of five Food Lion Store Managers of the Year in February 2024, out of the company’s 1,108 store managers.

Helen Spencer

Manager, Food Lion Store #0418, Grafton, Va.

  • Spencer has transformed her store into one of the highest-performing locations in her region: For instance, same-store sales in 2023 rose nearly 10% over the previous year.
  • This past year, she and her associates sold the largest amount of Food Lion Feeds boxes in the entire organization — 7,000 — during the holiday season; the boxes were donated directly to neighbors in need.
  • Spencer once led fundraising efforts to replace an associate’s bike that was wrecked when he was struck by a vehicle on his way to work, and the money was raised in less than three hours; luckily, the associate wasn’t seriously injured.

Ashley Yarborough

Manager, Food Lion Store #0861, Raleigh, N.C.

  • Thanks to a cohesive team environment that not only facilitated operational efficiency, but also allowed Yarborough to identify potential leaders, her store offered a superior shopping experience and thereby experienced a 4% jump in same-store sales growth.
  • Unafraid of taking on new challenges in her region, exemplifying one of Food Lion’s core values, courage, she didn’t hesitate to support her peers in training, recruiting, mentoring and hiring.
  • As a result of her success as a store manager, Yarborough was tapped for a new role as a Food Lion To Go specialist, managing the launch of the e-commerce service in her region’s stores.

Marlene Bower

Manager, Giant Store #6324, Levittown, Pa.

  • Manager of the top-performing store in the region in terms of sales and engagement scores, Bower grew sales by 1.45%, and her team engagement score increased two points, with a final score of 70.
  • She instituted engagement days at her store to recognize the hard work of team members, for whom she serves as a role model, offering such fun events as Pizza Fridays and Pretzel Thursdays.
  • Joining with her team to help do their part to help heal the planet, Bower spent multiple days volunteering at Silver Lake Nature Center, cleaning up trash on the pathways, and planting and mulching the flowerbeds.

Courtney Rawls

Manager, Giant Store #6442, Havertown, Pa.

  • As a result of her strong performance at the Aston, Pa., Giant store, Rawls was selected last October to take over the Havertown store, one of the brand’s busiest and highest-volume stores.
  • She immediately began making positive changes at Havertown, among them increasing e-commerce sales and setting a record sales week for the store’s Giant Direct curbside pickup service at Christmas.
  • As chair of MOSAIC, a business resource group dedicated to increasing awareness and building inclusion of all cultures and ethnicities in local communities, Rawls helped plan heritage month events year-round.

Lauren Seitter

Manager, Giant Store #6448, Philadelphia

  • Under Seitter’s leadership, the Grant Avenue store had the highest volume in the region and a team empowered to provide excellent customer service; additionally, the location’s net promoter score was the highest in the region, exceeding the company’s goal.
  • As a L.E.A.D. (Leadership/Experience/Accelerate/Development) candidate mentor focused on developing salaried managers, she worked with five trainees on their continued career growth.
  • Seitter and her team increased sustainability throughout the store by such means as boosting food donations to support Philabundance by 10% throughout the year.

Angie Stine

Manager, Giant Store #6294, York, Pa.

  • Just three months after taking leadership of a store that was challenged in all areas, Stine increased the monthly net promoter score by six points and improved the team member engagement score by four points.
  • She and her team generated sales records in the pharmacy and bakery, and Giant Direct had a record number of orders; she focused on computer-assisted ordering to improve the store’s in-stock conditions and improved audits by 42%.
  • Stine developed a culture of superior food safety, earning near-perfect audits the last three times; in four months, Stine also increased the store’s sustainability scores by seven points.

Stacie Diehl

Manager, Martin’s Store #6003, Cumberland, Md.

  • Managing two stores in 2023, Diehl led her current location, in Cumberland, Md., to positive sales of 8.07% versus last year and her previous one, in Keyser, W.V., to positive sales of 3.27% versus last year, excluding gas and EBT sales.
  • She and her store team broke two new sales records in 2023: The Cumberland store experienced a record total sales week during Christmas Week, as did the store pharmacy.
  • Diehl has significantly helped her local community by organizing volunteer events and partnering with various nonprofit organizations; she and her team volunteered 837 hours to support their neighbors in need.

Brittany Cavallaro

Manager, Stop & Shop Store #621, Southbury, Conn.

  • In recognition of the strong Jewish customer base at her store, Cavallaro partnered with local rabbis and the community to hold the first Kosher Week at the location; she brought in a wider variety of kosher products and had rabbis educate associates and customers about them.
  • She was able to improve overtime spending and beat her direct payroll budget; she also promoted three associates to full-time positions within the district and improved associate engagement scores. 
  • Cavallaro was honored with a Stop & Shop award of excellence for having the top results in perishable shrink in her district. 

Alyse Hyde

Manager, Stop & Shop Store #0423, Vineyard Haven, Mass.

  • Hyde’s desire to continually improve her store, which is located on Martha’s Vineyard, was demonstrated by the many projects she successfully undertook, including floorplan and product assortment changes.
  • Last summer, she hired and trained 40 exchange students, as well as helping the company obtain housing for them and ensure that they had an enjoyable cultural experience while in the United States.
  • Hyde joined the women’s associate resource group as a way to get more involved at work; this led to her staffing the company tent at the Providence Breast Cancer Walk.

Bonnie Stalenski    

Director, Albertsons Store #0183, Jackson, Wyo.

  • An Albertsons Cos. employee for more than 34 years and a store director for 11, Stalenski managed one of her division’s highest-volume stores; prior to joining Albertsons, she spent 10 years in the U.S. Air Force working as a traffic control and weather radar technician.
  • She and her team of about 200 employees ran 40 weeks in the past year with more than $1 million in sales and set new sales records for their store again this past summer.
  • Stalenski was a member of the Jackson Hole Rotary Club, the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson Hole National Wildlife Museum.

Julia Taylor

Director, Albertsons Store #43, Missoula, Mont.

  • Taylor immediately improved the associate experience in her store by revamping breakrooms and common areas, and, through other avenues, she managed to reduce associate turnover by almost 40%.
  • She was also instrumental in improving store operations by focusing on company process initiatives that increased productivity, improved the customer experience and made associates’ jobs easier.
  • Taylor strove to teach people why teamwork makes the dream work, and she also focused on building confidence, forging careers for associates, giving back to the community and creating a thriving work environment.

Judy Varela

Director, Albertsons Store #924, Albuquerque, N.M.

  • Varela was pivotal in achieving record-breaking revenue and profit margins; in 2023, her store was up 10.59% over the prior year, and the store increased sales by $50,000 per week in the same year compared with the previous year.
  • Her private label promotion ran an average of $15,000 per week, with sales up 7% over last year; she also helped transform a pharmacy that was on the brink of closure to achieve a sales increase of 65.75% versus the previous year, with a weekly increase growth rate of $24,000 per week.
  • Varela volunteered at StoreHouse New Mexico, the state’s largest food pantry.

Dinora Ramirez

Manager, Amazon Fresh Store, Fullerton, Calif.

  • Ramirez simplified inventory processing to improve productivity with a “one-touch” pilot process that allowed associates to scan one barcode on an incoming pallet instead of each box individually; the pilot, which was rolled out to all stores, increased productivity rates sixfold and. improved vendor relationships.
  • She refined associate picking to enhance safety and productivity by strategically moving bulky items to the staging area where online orders were finalized, so associates no longer needed to repeatedly lift the items.
  • Ramirez co-founded the first Latino affinity group for Amazon Fresh employees across more than 40 stores.

Rania Atra

Director, Balls Price Chopper Store #39, Shawnee, Kan.

  • Atra led a major refresh of her store, which included reducing the length of the center store aisles and a subsequent reset throughout, which will reduce shrink and create a better shopping experience for customers.
  • In her first nine months as store director, her store finished the fiscal year up 50 basis points in net profit over the store average versus the prior year, as well as achieving a 5.1% increase in total sales year over year.
  • Atra brought food to the homeless in lower-income neighborhoods of Kansas City and worked to support the development of a new Islamic cultural and educational center planned for Leawood, Kan.

Otilia Brown

Manager, Big Y World Class Market Store #95, Simsbury, Conn.

  • At Brown’s store, gross profit dollars were up 12.8% to budget and 15.3% over the prior year, shrink was 3.67% of sales versus 4.22% the previous year, and direct wages were at 8.18%, 80 basis points better than budget and 108 basis points better than 2022, while net income results were 79.2% over budget. 
  • At a store focused on supporting local vendor partners and farms, she and her produce sales manager partnered with Calabrese Farms on direct-to-store deliveries, as well as displays inside and outside the store. 
  • Brown recently transitioned to the role of corporate seafood sales manager.

Angel Goure

Leader, City Market Store #441, New Castle, Colo.

  • In the challenging environment of a small coal-mining town, Goure successfully turned a previously unprofitable store into a thriving business with a 10.73% sales increase and a 3.9% boost in EBITDA.
  • Her pickup department earned elite status by exceeding all measurable department metrics, and she was recognized for maintaining 100% total in-stock; she received a high-sales award as well. 
  • Goure’s store contributed to the annual New Castle parade and participated in several community events by donating reusable bags for Earth Day programs and supporting Boy Scout food collections. 

Yodee Rivera

Director, Coborn’s Marketplace Store #2027, Glencoe, Minn.

  • Rivera focused on helping her team improve their skills through training and educational opportunities that prepared them for potential future roles; several team members were subsequently promoted within her store.
  • She was the driving force behind Welcoming Week, an annual nationwide campaign and celebration with the aim of showcasing communities’ efforts to be more welcoming to all, including recent immigrants.
  • Rivera was involved in Coborn’s sponsorship of the first annual Minnesota Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, in St. Cloud; she was also a member of the Store Advisory Council.

Rosario Aydil

Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Incirlik Commissary, Turkey

  • After a devastating earthquake, Aydil provided invaluable assistance to displaced employees and their families; her efforts included delivering food and necessities while offering comfort and support to those affected.
  • She implemented a delivery system within the base, a move that streamlined the process of providing essential supplies to airmen; she also spearheaded the creation of an Airman Corner within the store, establishing a platform to gather donations for deployed airmen.
  • Aydil received the Department of the Army’s Achievement Medal for Civilian Service.

Mary Giles

Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Europe Area, Garmisch Commissary, Germany

  • Giles provided a great customer experience at her commissary: In 2023, it received the highest Commissary Customer Satisfaction Survey score in the Europe Area — 4.97 out of 5.0. 
  • Diligent about keeping salvage to a minimum while recording high accountable inventory results, she maintained one of the lowest not-in-stock with balance-on-hand rates in her zone, with an average of 1%.
  • Giles supported the military community through multiple events at her commissary; these included providing education on healthy eating to children from the local elementary school.

Manuela Hamilton

Commissary Officer, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Keesler Commissary, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Miss.

  • Results at the Keesler Commissary reflected Hamilton’s operational and management capabilities: In 2023, the increase in the commissary’s sales surpassed plan goals, and the success continued in Q1 2024, with a 6.8% increase in sales compared with Q1 2023.  
  • She implemented a pilot program with a contractor to revamp how groceries arrive on shelves; her hands-on involvement and guidance enabled a seamless transition to the successful new business model.
  • Hamilton’s commissary posted a 38.3% increase in e-commerce in Q1 2024 from a year earlier.

Maureen McCarthy

Store Director, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Fort Liberty North Commissary, Fort Liberty, N.C.

  • In her three years in charge of her commissary McCarthey grew sales every year; for the fiscal year ended September 2023, commissary sales were up 17.8% and transactions rose 11.4%.
  • Healthy eating was a focus for McCarthy: Her Commissary Classroom program showed service members how to make healthy decisions, and she brought in dietitians to teach soldiers to prepare healthy meals and educate them on nutrition.
  • By hosting a variety of activities at a sidewalk sale in May 2023, she brought in almost $150,000 more in increased sales than in the prior year.

Laura Johnson

Director, Family Fare Store #115, Byron Center, Mich.

  • Before becoming district manager of fuel operations in November 2023, Johnson was store director of the Byron Center, Mich., Family Fare, where she often experimented with new merchandising strategies to reach and retain shoppers, and she collaborated with the SpartanNash OwnBrands team on tasting events.
  • Her store received a perfect score during its 2023 safety audit; it exceeded expectations in its internal audit as well, scoring nearly 10% better than the previous year, and she also improved retention by 20%.
  • Johnson mentored future leaders in SpartanNash’s Elevate training program and the Intern 101 program.

Patty Kuehn

Director, Family Fare Store #3785, Omaha, Neb.

  • Store sales surged 8% under Kuehn’s leadership, and every fresh department achieved growth; deli alone contributed to a $160,000 boost in deli, meat and produce department sales.
  • Known for cultivating a close-knit atmosphere in her store, Kuehn was able to boost retention; turnover in the store was projected to end the year 10% under goal, and seven associates earned promotions, while trained and motivated associates delivered an enhanced shopping experience, leading to a 6% improvement in the guest satisfaction score (to 71.3%).
  • Kuehn was a finalist in the FMI Store Manager Awards.

Alejandra Maciel

Team Leader, Food City Store #103, Phoenix

  • Despite a major Hispanic big-box competitor located across the street, Maciel’s store — a hub in its neighborhood — was up more than 19,000 customers over the same period last year, average order size was up nearly $1, sales were up nearly 7% and EBITDA was nearly $150,000 better than budget.
  • Her terrific team member retention rate made her a go-to resource for associate training from other stores, and she promoted eight team members in the past year.
  • Maciel volunteered at a number of community events, including Copa Food City, Dia De Los Muertos activities and job fairs.

Sara Olascon

Team Leader, Food City Store #12, Phoenix

  • Olascon led her team to increase her store’s gross profits by 10.3% and customer count by more than 25%.
  • A great mentor and teacher, she passed on to her team members the organizational and product display skills that she developed as a receiver, helping to foster a focus on first-class customer service that has positively affected the team’s sales numbers: For instance, average order size increased nearly 3.5%. and EBTDA was up $245,000 above plan.
  • Olascon regularly participated in Food City-sponsored community events, and she held raffles of gift baskets to raise funds for her daughter’s basketball club.

Kayla Reid

Team Leader, Food City Store #69, Tucson, Ariz.

  • Reid drove sales at her store up 10% last year over the previous year and was already ahead 5.24% for this year, with EBIDTA $163,000 above plan so far this year.
  • She led team members to become some of the store’s best leaders across the meat, produce, deli and front end departments, with the intention of helping to shape the company’s future. 
  • Deeply involved in her community, Reid was a fixture at events with major Food City community partners, including Chicanos Por La Causa; she was also a hands-on parent at her son’s soccer club, gamely volunteering for anything the club needed.

Consuelo Ramos

Leader, Food 4 Less Store #313, Hawthorne, Calif.

  • Ramos leads 67 associates at her location, focusing on developing associates, motivating them and inspiring team growth.
  • Taking on the challenge of a store with huge opportunities in morale and job performance, Ramos successfully shifted the environment in 2023 and received high Associate Insight Survey scores, as well as the highest composite score, and was top in Full, Fresh and Friendly shops in her district.
  • She and her team raised nearly $2,000 for a local senior home, and were able to provide food to the elderly during the holidays and winter months.

Korinne Gormley

Leader, Fred Meyer Store #694, Happy Valley, Ore.

  • Overseeing 288 associates at her store, Gormley was deeply committed to customer satisfaction and mentoring associates and future leaders in the industry.
  • Under her leadership, her team has won multiple sales contests from companies such as Franz, Coke, Red Bull, Energizer and Sparkling Ice.
  • As part of the Happy Valley Business Alliance, Gormley hosted canned food drives for the American Encouragement Military Network and sock drives for local churches, just to name a few of her efforts; she also hosted local school bands during the holidays.

Luisana Rios

Leader, Fry’s Food Store #83, Tucson, Ariz.

  • Managing 190 associates at her current location, Rios eagerly worked her way through multiple roles and departments during her 18-year tenure with the company.
  • She ran one of the highest-volume stores in the company, and over the past year, her store was No. 2 district-wide on pickup department fill rate, and also surpassed its goal by 20% on composite rate, placing her at No. 3 in the division; her store additionally placed in the top five in the district for shrink rate.
  • Rios completed the company’s internal Future Leaders Experience to further improve her skills.

Ashley Craigmiles

Leader, Gerbes Store #116, Eldon, Mo.

  • Overseeing a store with 66 associates, Craigmiles broke her sales record twice, won multiple division sales challenges and more than tripled the store goal for a recent selling event.
  • Her store was chosen to be a training location for the Store Leader Development Program.
  • Craigmiles received the division’s Top Gun Leader Award for her district in both Q1 and Q3; additionally, she regularly gave back to the community as a board member for the county’s Habitat for Humanity chapter and volunteered with several groups, including The AL Foundation and Relay for Life.  

Tina Hartley

Director, Harris Teeter Store #363, Summerville, S.C.

  • Hartley surpassed last year’s store operating profit of $2.2 million, showcasing her adept financial management skills, and had the honor of hosting an investors’ walk at her store.  
  • After the fresh food department saw negative sales, she implemented measures to decrease turnover, increase production and establish standards for improved efficiency; the department then boasted an average positive sales trend of 10%.
  • Hartley worked with Fort Dorchester Elementary School to establish a program for kindergarten classes to visit her store to learn about healthy eating habits and get a bag of healthy snacks and educational materials.

Colette Hercules-Lott

Director, Harris Teeter Store #122, Charlotte, N.C.

  • Hercules-Lott and her team have made this their most successful year yet, with the store surpassing $1 million in profit year to date; she also achieved a notable increase of 7.22% year to date, the highest trend in the district. 
  • Store #122 boasted an impressive total composite score of 96.4% year to date, this achievement was further underscored by the 42 compliments that it received for exceptional service.
  • In addition to being a strong supporter of The Salvation Army, Hercules-Lott was able to lead her team to victories in various contests, including the floral rose contest, the produce pistachio contest, the Hostess contest and the Harris Teeter paper contest. 

Amanda O’Quinn

Director, Harris Teeter Store #190, Concord, N.C.

  • With turnover at 46%, which was below company average, O’Quinn worked closely with associates to win such initiatives as the Moms, Dads and Grads gift card contest.
  • She demonstrated her commitment to driving sales and fostering customer engagement through various events and activations hosted at her store, including the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, an Easter Bunny event, a Hatch chile roasting event, and a NASCAR driver event featuring Daniel Suarez.
  • Using her exceptional leadership and strategic management skills, O’Quinn achieved a store composite score of 96.5 and a sales composite score of 95.

Karla Quandt

District Store Director, Hy-Vee Store #1560, Shawnee, Kan.

  • Quandt improved her previous store’s profits in Q3 2023 by 4.6%, in Q4 2023 by nearly 8% and in Q1 2024 by nearly 7%; pharmacy sales in Q1 were up by nearly 40% over the prior year, accounting for nearly 30% of total store sales for Q1. 
  • She took the initiative to become certified as a pharmacy technician to help when her pharmacy was short-staffed, a hands-on approach that helped inspire her team and create a positive work environment. 
  • Within her first month of managing the Shawnee Hy-Vee, Quandt increased gross profit dollars by nearly 10% compared with the prior year and lowered store expenses by 12%. 

Elise Scheil

District Store Director, Hy-Vee Store #1396, Marion, Iowa; Marion Fast & Fresh; Cedar Rapids #6, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • When Scheil ran Cedar Rapids #3, the store went from red to black six months after she arrived; she invested in physical store upgrades that improved morale, which in turn contributed to the sales turnaround.
  • Her competitive nature led her to recruit a competitor’s entire pharmacy team, comprising the pharmacy manager, pharmacist, seven techs and two interns.
  • Although Hy-Vee didn’t offer a corporate fleet fuel program, Scheil created one in Marion to reward select local businesses for filling up; it was designed in a way to also incentivize employees to come into the store for a free drink and food discounts. 

Marlyn Loughmiller

Director, Jewel-Osco Store #3189, Chesterton, Ind.

  • Loughmiller, a 25-year veteran of Jewel-Osco, oversaw 200 associates at her store, where she took pride in running a clean, safe location.
  • Her e-commerce sales increased 35% year over year, and her commitment to continued sales growth could be seen weekly as her total e-commerce sales continued to land in the top third of the district.
  • Additionally, Loughmiller was the co-chairman of the Jewel-Osco Asian Di Network associate resource group, which facilitated an inclusive culture that supported the advancement of Asian associates through mentorship and education; she also volunteered to pack meals at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Jessica McGrew

Director, Jewel-Osco Store #3073, Normal, Ill.

  • Leading 115 associates at her store, McGraw maintained a higher than 6% ID year over year in sales, and her e-commerce portion of the business grew more than 82% ID year over year.
  • She worked toward better associate recruitment in collaboration with Illinois State University, putting together a job fair and hiring interns from the school.
  • When not working at her store, McGrew volunteers each year at the Bloomington Senior Expo, explaining to attendees what Jewel-Osco has to offer, and also at the Bloomington Chocolate and Wine festival; she additionally teamed with a local junior college to speak with students looking for careers after graduation.

Christine Nunez

Director, Jewel-Osco Store #3160, Palos Park, Ill.

  • Nunez, a leader of 138 associates, led her team to exceed store sales projections and EBITDA projections during the past year.
  • She was the co-chair of the Jewel-Osco Latino Leadership Associates (J.O.L.L.A.) associate resource group (ARG), and during a J.O.L.L.A.-sponsored back-to-school hiring event, 52 minority candidates were hired to work for Jewel-Osco.
  • Nunez helped launch new signs in Spanish to encourage, teach and promote using the Drive up and Go e-commerce program via the Jewel-Osco app; additionally, she and others in the J.O.L.L.A. ARG helped displaced families access food and necessities after a fire made their apartments uninhabitable.

Tammy Stock

Director, Jewel-Osco Store #16, Deerfield, Ill.

  • Despite dealing with a major health challenge and surgery in the past year, Stock never wavered in her leadership: Sales at her store grew 6% versus the past year, and EBITDA increased 20.5%; meanwhile, the store continued to be recognized for its food safety and sanitation efforts.
  • She continued to develop new leaders, with three assistant store directors being promoted to store directors within the past year.
  • While achieving all of these impressive results, Stock continued her education and graduated summa cum laude from Southern New Hampshire University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and entrepreneurship.

Janet Taylor

Director, Jewel-Osco Store #438, Oak Park, Ill.

  • Overseeing a “neighborhood store” in her own community, Taylor led the location to bring in an average weekly sales increase of 3.5% over the past year — on top of 6% year-over-year growth in both 2022 and 2023.
  • Under her leadership, the pharmacy experienced sales growth of 25% year over year, with script count up 7%.
  • Taylor and her sister did volunteer work at Opportunity Knocks, a charitable organization dedicated to young adults with disabilities; she was also a strong supporter of Chicago Jesuit Academy, a local tuition-free school supporting families affected by historical disinvestment.

Maria Tornabeni

Store Director, Jewel-Osco Store #3495, Bensenville, Ill.

  • Under Tornabeni’s leadership, Jewel-Osco’s Bensenville, Ill., store rang up a 4.2% increase in identical-store sales year over year, while earnings grew with a strong 5.25% conversion rate.
  • She hired and mentored a new floral manager who helped grow the department, resulting in a 7% increase in identical-store sales in floral.
  • Tornabeni hosted Jewel-Osco’s FAB (Women of Food and Beverage) event in March, highlighting women-owned products and engaging the entire store; she also built a partnership with the local mayor, which resulted in her store’s participation in multiple area events.

Carissa Gonzalez

Leader, King Soopers Store #134, Colorado Springs, Colo.

  • Now managing a total of 236 associates, Gonzalez began her store leadership journey at the smallest and least profitable location in the district; she gradually progressed to oversee one of the chain’s largest and most profitable stores.
  • Her expertise shone through in her team leadership and coaching, which emphasized both processes and behaviors; she also led the store to surpass its shrink goal and achieve outstanding in-stock metrics.
  • Additionally, Gonzalez has achieved 84.5 in prime-time wait time against a goal of 105.8, and she maintained a pickup wait time of 3:08 against a 5:00 goal.

Marwa Alhajjaj

Leader, Kroger Store #713, Nicholasville, Ky.

  • Alhajjaj oversaw 140 employees, sharing with them her strong passion for providing superior customer service.
  • Her store achieved a 5.2% sales increase over last year, and her ability to retain talent led to a labor productivity level that improved 5.83% over last year.
  • Partnering with the Nicholasville, Ky., Police Department, Alhajjaj donated more than 10,000 popsicle treats to children through the department’s “Copsicle” truck; she also assisted a local school in Jessamine County by donating food items monthly and helped provide off-site clinics to promote flu vaccines.

Brittany Brownfield

Leader, Kroger Store #817, Wilmington, Ohio

  • After becoming a store leader last year, Brownfield immediately prioritized food safety, achieving two zero-critical food safety walks and finishing the year with a 100% sanitation score.
  • She helped boost the store’s associate engagement store by 6% and received a company “Best of the Best” award.
  • Brownfield and her 150-associate team took part in various initiatives benefiting local charities, including the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk in downtown Cincinnati; she also shared her time sorting and packing food with a Feeding America food bank partner.

Amber Dennis

Leader, Kroger Store #514, Madison, Tenn. 

  • Dennis helped turn around an underperforming store that had low employee morale by focusing on goals and encouraging everyone to provide an outstanding shopping experience; the store ended the year with a 3.4% lift in sales.
  • She got to know each member of the night crew, urging personal accountability for performance; afterward, the in-stock goal improved 5%, and the team then constantly exceeded its goals.
  • Dennis was chosen to serve on the Store Leader Council for her district; she also joined the Madison, Tenn., Chamber of Commerce to give back to the community and build strong relationships with local leaders.

Azeb Gebrehiwot

Leader, Kroger Store #473, Cumming, Ga.

  • Currently leading 120 associates, Gebrehiwot was previously a division e-commerce field specialist, in which role she enhanced efficiency measures of grocery pickup and improved the percentage of items included in grocery pickup orders by 100 basis points.
  • As a store leader, she grew sales at her location by 5.47% and led a 12% increase in its composite score, higher than the division average.
  • Gebrehiwot was nominated for Store Leader of the Quarter; she also belonged to the division’s African American associate resource group and trained new managers in e-ecommerce. 

Carla Hardy

Leader, Kroger Store #594, Tiffin, Ohio

  • A first-year store leader in 2023, Hardy improved the location’s composite score from 72% to 80.1% by improving processes, fill rates and labor.
  • She held the top spot in the division for three periods in a row for most items counted for in-stock and inspired a significant increase in the location’s Friendly score to “very good.” 
  • Hardy consistently supported Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan and bolstered relationships with such community groups as the West Ohio Food Bank; additionally, as a proponent of mentorship, she successfully trained three store leadership candidates. 

Tedesa Parks

Leader, Kroger Store #888, Lansing, Mich.

  • In her role overseeing 125 associates, Parks has outpaced district and division sales trends by an impressive 4.33%; through strategic planning, market analysis and effective execution, she consistently delivered strong financial results.
  • Additionally, her consistent five-out-of-five trend with Full, Fresh, Friendly metrics underscored her dedication to delivering exceptional customer experiences.
  • Through the Emerging Leaders program, Parks honed her leadership skills, gained insights into industry best practices, and expanded her business network; she was also involved in the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

Julie Rathburn

Leader, Kroger Marketplace Store #805, Lewis Center, Ohio

  • Overseeing a large-format Marketplace location, Rathburn hosted three Store Leadership Development Program candidates and prepared her assistant store leader for the Store Leader Bench Program.
  • Her store set a division record in gross sales last year, and the location was one of the top stores in the division for EBITDA. 
  • Rathburn participated in the Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower (EDGE) associate resource group supporting gender equality; she also volunteered for a nonprofit program providing education, food, clothing and shelter to underprivileged children. 

Ashley Rose

Leader, Kroger Store #942,Blue Ash, Ohio

  • Managing 230 associates, Rose guided her store to a 4.3% year-over-year sales lift by setting clear expectations for her team and consistently reinforcing them during her daily effective store walks.
  • Her location also had a 32% increase in its composite score, a 4.2% bump in the e-commerce fill rate and a lift in customer count of 15,000.
  • Rose was selected to coach six divisional stores on processes to help with inventory shrinkage, participated in the Young Professionals associate resource group, and volunteered with several fundraising and community events. 

Latoya Sullivan

Leader, Kroger Store #473; Oxford, Miss.

  • Managing a store with 250 associates, Sullivan identified opportunities, developed timely solutions and created action plans. 
  • Her store was always ranked within the top 10 in sales and profit, as well as customer count, for the division; last year, she was selected by her district manager to serve as interim store leader at an underperforming Kroger store and, while there, she improved leading metrics and boosted sales and profits. 
  • She collaborated with a local community health center to address food insecurity in the region and participated in Kroger’s associate resource group for women leaders. 

Nicole Thomas

Leader, Kroger Store #817, Dublin, Ohio 

  • Promoted last year to guide 194 employees at a store near Columbus, Ohio, Thomas boosted the location’s calibration score from 78 to 91, and her store achieved a five-out-of-five score in Full, Fresh and Friendly metrics for the year and exceeded total controllable costs at 9.86% to goal.
  • Her store is best in the district for in-stock processes. 
  • Thomas received the district’s Peer Mentor Award, was chosen by her district manager to serve on the division’ Store Leader Advisory Council, and co-chaired the Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower (EDGE) associate resource group for gender equality.

Kelly Van Horn

Leader, Kroger Store #709, Clarkston, Mich.

  • Van Horn showed stellar financial achievements at her store, including 5% sales growth, strong EBITDA and the second-best total store shrink in her district.
  • Her willingness to step up and fill in for her district manager in his absence highlighted her exceptional leadership and commitment to the team’s success.
  • Van Horn was part of the Women’s EDGE associate resource group, and also served as a role model and mentor for other women within the organization, offering guidance, support and encouragement to help them navigate their career paths and overcome obstacles.

Zivile Viliusis

Leader, Kroger Marketplace Store #514, North Chesterfield, Va.

  • Before moving to her current high-volume store, Viliusis led Store #510 in Mechanicsville, Va., until January 2024, when she moved to her new location.
  • Under her leadership, Store #510 achieved 80%-plus participation in the 2023 Associate Insights Survey, well above division and enterprise participation rates, and one of just 13 Mid-Atlantic division stores to do so.
  • Additionally, Viliusis was recognized in 2023 for having the third-highest sales increase for Mother’s Day, with 51% growth year over year; she also had the highest year-over-year growth in her district, as well as the highest year-over-year EBITDA.

Shannon Willoughby

Leader, Kroger Store #394, Lake Charles, La.

  • Willoughby supervised 175 associates and supported new district store leaders through weekly visits while also sitting on the mentorship committee and leading as the deli/bakery chair.
  • She advanced four associates to managerial roles and prepared numerous hourly associates for leadership positions in the Louisiana area.
  • Additionally, Willoughby elevated her store’s composite score from 52 to 77 against a goal of 58, meeting wage targets for 2023, reducing turnover by 15% and surpassing Full, Fresh and Friendly metrics by 8%.

Nicole Zaluski

Leader, Kroger Marketplace Store #777, Shelbyville, Ky.

  • Zaluski, known for making people smile by putting on a tutu or a tiara, oversaw 311 associates; she was also widely referred to as the “Rib Queen” and the “Chicken Queen” for consistently coming in at No. 1 in rib and chicken sales for the division.
  • She and her team collected $80,000 worth of cereal to donate to the Shelbyville community in fall 2023.
  • Zaluski received awards for being the EBITDA leader in her district, achieving 100%  in Fresh in 2023 and a 2023 overall year-to-date composite score of 67%, exceeding the goal of 62%.

Annunziata Betro

Manager, Lidl Store #1423, Woodbridge, N.J.

  • Betro orchestrated a remarkable turnaround at her store by focusing on training and development and by diligently executing processes day in and day out; the results included a notable 10% lift in both sales and customer count, and unit productivity that surpassed her goal by 11 points.
  • She drove further efficiencies within her team, showcasing her solid leadership skills and management prowess.
  • Among other accolades, Betro received a Quality Label for her store after successfully completing a full green audit and an all-green ISM audit.

Rochelle Mellor

Director, Lin’s Market Store #10835, Cedar City, Utah 

  • In fiscal year 2023, Mellor’s store once again clinched the top spot in the company for EBITDA, a remarkable feat marking six consecutive years at the pinnacle of performance.
  • She continued to foster new leaders through her mentorship.
  • Mellor played a pivotal role in forging a sponsorship agreement with Southern Utah State University, further solidifying Lin’s Market as an outstanding community partner; she also worked with her store to organize a food drive for the local Hope Pantry, addressing the issue of food insecurity among the college’s students.

Whitney Workman

Director, Lowes Foods Store #262, Cary, N.C.

  • Workman took her store to the next level with guest service levels, host happiness, sales and bottom-line profits; she also had one of lowest turnover rates in her division.
  • She helped lead the division’s efforts in regard to the Alex Lee Audit, a company-wide process and compliance audit, coming out with the title of Alex Lee Audit Champion; meanwhile, her store had one of the best food safety scores in the division, at 95%.
  • Workman volunteered for the torch ride for Special Olympics and also partnered with the Holly Springs, N.C., Police Department on its yearly fundraising event, which was a huge success; additionally, she worked with local Holly Springs schools.

Heather Gendreau

Manager, Market 32 Store #158, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

  • Gendreau won the unit growth contest for the chain in the second quarter with the biggest increase in units: 5.92% over last year.
  • By focusing on staffing, training and developing staff members, she lowered average overtime from 100-plus hours a week to under five hours a week for the entire store; for the third quarter, her store had the biggest increase in sales in the zone, while its out-of-stock counts were the lowest.
  • To help a staff member in need during the Christmas holiday, Gendreau held a store raffle to raise funds to purchase presents for the associate’s children and to fund dinner for the family.

Leslie Hanson

Executive Store Leader, Market District Store #32, Murrysville, Pa.

  • Hanson created an event culture through customer-centric planning by holding the following events storewide to drive sales and service: a Willie Wonka chocolate event, a Super Mario event and a Taste of the Holidays event. 
  • Acting as liaison between Giant Eagle and Wandering Spirits, her store became the first Giant Eagle location to launch the first store-within-a-store concept of Wandering Spirits.
  • In FY23, Hanson drove an increase of 4.53% over last year and a 1% increase over budget, and her store was chosen for several corporate partnership events, including activations with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Kay Lay

Director, Market Street Store #561, McKinney, Texas

  • Lay’s store’s EBITDA earnings were the highest in her region by several hundred thousand dollars, accounting for 4.91% of total store sales; her team held the top spot in the DFW region, with year-to-date (YTD) sales of nearly $60 million, making her location the No. 7 store in the company, and her store also took the top spot in deli/foodservice sales in the company, while her bakery team was third in the company in YTD sales.
  • Her store also beat the company’s average annualized turnover rate by 20%.
  • Lay’s team logged 353 volunteer hours and donated 13,517 pounds of food to local food banks.

Kathy Hall

Director, Martin’s Super Markets Store #2322, Plymouth, Ind.

  • Hall led her store to a sales increase of $1.6 million while exceeding her net margin budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Although the remote location of her store made recruiting difficult, she filled managerial positions by mentoring promising associates to take on new roles; she reduced turnover by 18% and kept early-stage retention to 77%, 7% above her goal, while labor costs came in 2% under budget after overtime was reduced by 56%.
  • Hall raised funds for initiatives supporting schools, sports teams, elder care, abused children, and people with autism.

Jill Devan

Director, Meijer Store #650 (Bridge Street Market), Grand Rapids, Mich.

  • Devan volunteered to deliver Meijer’s Truly Human Service rollout not only to her own team, but to all Market format stores.
  • She helped drive sales by actively supporting small and diverse businesses, successfully onboarding four women-owned businesses; in addition, she showcased local vendors in the recently remodeled store gift shop and in a gift basket program  now used throughout all Market format stores.
  • Devan devoted time to Feeding America and coaching a local Little League team.

Jackie Gerardot

Director, Meijer Store #190, Angola, Ind.

  • Gerardot led her team to achieve a little more than $80 million in sales, which was 4% up from the previous year; one of her focus areas was partnering with vendors and buying offices to secure additional products.
  • She challenged her team to improve the store’s in-stock availability by identifying better processes; as a result, the store went from 85% shelf availability in the second quarter to 93% in the fourth quarter.
  • Gerardot formed relationships with local schools and organizations to tap into new talent; she also held appreciation events and a holiday raffle for her team.

Cynthia Griggs

Director, Meijer Store #681, Macomb Township, Mich.

  • Griggs’ current location, one of the new Meijer Grocery formats, opened in January 2023 and in its inaugural year finished with sales that were 13% above the sales plan.
  • Her store led the region with top scores in both on-shelf availability and Medallia overall satisfaction with customers,  as well as achieving excellence in food safety sanitation.
  • Griggs cycled through three assistant store managers in her first year at the Meijer Grocery store, mentoring these leaders to promotions or new specialized areas that fit their career paths.

Bonnie Hanson

Director, Meijer Store #167, Jeffersonville, Ind.

  • Hanson took leadership of her current store in September 2022, and since that time, she has made tremendous strides to move it to the next level: Sales growth exceeded the fiscal year 2023 plan by 9.41% and outperformed 2022 by more than 15%.
  • She mentored two line leaders who were slated for Meijer’s store director development program this year.
  • Hanson’s store won the company-wide White Glove challenge in 2023 and the market White Glove challenge in 2024 — a testament to how high her standards are in regard to cleanliness and product availability; she participated in two team member resource groups and volunteered in her local community.

Johanna Harper

Director, Meijer Store #143, Frazeysburg, Ohio

  • Under Harper’s leadership, her store’s financial and customer service metrics exceeded the plan by 110% last year.
  • Her store also saw an on-shelf availability improvement of nearly 500 basis points compared with the prior year.
  • In addition to working with various organzations and individuals to defend the rights of underserved people in her community, Harper participated in her regional diversity, equity and inclusion committee and was the regional co-chair for Women at Meijer in Ohio; in this latter position, she introduced workshops for women to gain more resources for success, which helped increase membership in the group.

Rebecca Miller

Director, Meijer Store #132, Greenwood, Ind.

  • Miller led her team to improve on-shelf availability by 4% and achieved year-over-year sales growth of 3.11%; through her strategic efforts, she enhanced the overall customer experience within her store, resulting in overall KPI improvement.
  • By identifying team members’ talents, she placed individuals in roles that aligned with their strengths, and her attention to her associates and understanding of team dynamics improved the store’s culture score by 6%; as an example, her Cheers to Your Peers program fostered a sense of value and teamwork.
  • Miller led Meijer’s inaugural Woman in the Workplace program as a facilitator and helped create content for the initiative.

Alexandra Therrien

Director, Meijer Store #231, Southfield, Mich. 

  • After Therrien’s store SWOT analysis uncovered several market share opportunities, she worked with her store team, corporate buyers and vendors to strategically grow categories that were most important to the store’s demographics and improved store sales by more than 20% in six months. 
  • She also used SWOT analysis results to pinpoint needs within the community as targets of giveback outreach. 
  • As the credit champion for the market, Therrien, who recently left the company, held weekly calls with stores to teach, train, motivate and inspire associates to drive credit card results; this led her market to end the year in a top-five credit card position.

Chantel Knudson

Director, Pavilions Store #2217, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., and Pavilions Store #2210, Mission Viejo, Calif.

  • Knudson won awards for highest store sales, best community affairs and Outstanding Store Director of the Year at  Albertsons’  annual store director meeting, and she also received the Frank Madden Crystal Apple award for her huge impact on her peers. 
  • Running two of the division’s highest-volume stores during the holiday season, Knudson led both to $1 million-plus in sales during the Christmas sales week.
  • A Living Our Purpose ambassador, Knudson worked to create an inspiring work environment.

Kim Bedsworth

Leader, QFC Store #852, Everett, Wash.

  • Bedsworth’s store conditions were exemplary, delivering more than 85% all year; during several holiday tours in 2023, she had the highest score in the division.
  • She was a leader in driving pickup results and ended the year with the top fill rate in the district; her store also had one of the highest sales increases for the district, achieving a 5.04% lift over last year.
  • Bedsworth was chosen to fill the role of district manager when the regular manager was on vacation; outside of her main role, Bedsworth took part in QFC’s EDGE associate resource group.

Tiarra Mann

Manager, QFC Store #837, Maple Valley, Wash.

  • Mann focused on uplifting and empowering her store’s associates through positive reinforcement and consistent knowledge sharing; her work paid off, as the store achieved its employee turnover goal with one of the lowest rates in the division.
  • Her store consistently achieved high composite scores; in fact, at the end of 2023, it had the second-highest composite score in the district.
  • Since 2019, Mann has served as co-chair of QFC’s African American associate resource group; apart from her work at QFC, she was heavily involved in Northwest Tap Connection, a scholarship program with a mission to “close to gap” within the arts for underserved youth.

Connie Peek

Leader, Ruler Foods Store #402, St. Louis, Mo.

  • Peek was transferred to her current store in St. Louis after a temporary store closure; prior to the closure, her store was leading the division in sales, with identical sales that were double the goal set in the division.
  • She maintained contact with the team at her former store to offer assistance and, in some cases, help advance associates’ careers; at the same time, she wholeheartedly took on the role of store manager at Store #402 in St. Louis.
  • Additionally, Peek recently stepped into an interim role as an area manager to provide leadership for six stores; she didn’t miss a beat in this new position, jumping in where needed to provide leadership and guidance.

Dominique Dudley

Director, Safeway Store #1445, Washington, D.C.

  • An exceptional team builder, Dudley organized appreciation lunches for her team three times a year, as well as an appreciation breakfast for the night crew; she also got the team together for special holiday events.
  • Her store received the highest results in the district on the Organizational Health Survey.
  • Dudley was proactive in making sure her associates and customers felt safe in the high-crime area where her store operates; as a highly engaged member of the community, she was recognized by the Greater Hands Foundation for her service.

Amanda Francis

Director, Safeway Store #3424, Tacoma, Wash. 

  • Having taken over store #3424 last July, Francis beat EBITDA targets and improved Vision Pro Proper Production Scores, among other achievements.
  • She worked with the City of Tacoma to help beautify the store’s exterior and surrounding landscape, and she also connected with the principal at a local elementary school to improve safety issues in the community.
  • Francis created standard operating procedures for compliance training with PowerPoint and was selected for multiple training roles because of her passion to help others succeed.

Loly Ramirez

Store Director, Safeway Store #503, Everett, Wash. 

  • Ramirez helped turn around a struggling store by focusing on employee morale and cleanliness, and creating excitement around contests and events; her efforts paid off with gains in both sales and EBITDA for the first full quarter that she was there.
  • Year to date, her store was ranked No. 6 in the division in sales versus plan.
  • Ramirez also took on leadership roles in the district, including as an ASDLT and PIC trainer, and participated in a division taskforce to create solutions to improve employee onboarding and training.

Jeanne Kovath

Manager, Schnucks Store #129, O’Fallon, Mo.

  • Kovath consistently delivered strong financial results: In the most recent fiscal year, her store achieved sales growth of 4.58% and exceeded a challenging EBITDA plan by 29 basis points. 
  • She innovated at her store with creative merchandising and layouts, as well as new products and sampling programs, and she received the Anna Schnuck 5 Spoon Award for her expertise in liquor, wine, and beer.
  • Kovath and her associates donated their time at a local food pantry, The Salvation Army Angel Tree and the Operation Food Search hunger relief organization.

Tanya Machnicki

Manager, Schnucks Store #266, Crestwood, Mo.

  • When a competitor opened across the street from her store in March 2023, Machnicki worked to strengthen community relationships and held sales-driving events; she also successfully executed a marketing campaign spotlighting her store’s competitive pricing.
  • After leading her team through a total-store remodel, she partnered with the corporate marketing team to host a major store relaunch event, which included food trucks, the St. Louis CITY Soccer Street Team and the Schnucks Community Kitchen.
  • Machnicki co-led a leadership workshop to upskill the team, focusing on how customer service differentiates the shopping experience at her store.

Cassidy Cofran

Store Director, Shaw’s Store #0690, Orleans, Mass.

  • Cofran’s store achieved noteworthy sales penetration and bottom-line results of 10.01%, while her associate experience survey was 77.3, compared with 67.4 for the district.
  • A strong supporter of the community, she spearheaded the Cape Cod Canal Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, organized a toy drive for the YMCA of Cape Cod, and coordinated events such as Healthy Kids Day and Trunk or Treat; meanwhile, her store was the third-highest fundraiser for the Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • After a violent tragedy devastated the community of Lewiston, Maine, last year, Cofran gathered volunteers and drove them to the store in that community to provide support.

Barbara Lufkin

Director, Shaw’s Store #1632, Carver, Mass. 

  • In the past year, Lufkin managed two locations simultaneously due to staffing needs and a retirement, while also providing center store operations support to her district; the stores that she managed were highly profitable.
  • She was a strong supporter of the Second Annual Black History Month event at Shaw’s and Star Market: Not only did she organize an event at one of her stores, but she also coordinated events for the other three stores.
  • Lufkin provided transportation for an associate in need during her own vacation and found housing for another associate; she also organized volunteers to drive to Lewiston, Maine, to provide support for local stores in the wake of a violent tragedy.

Jennifer Czech

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

  • By having a vision and being an effective leader, Czech helped her team become the first in the division to achieve a top quarterly sales average for her store in Q3 2023; her team achieved its best EBITDA and financial goals in 2023. 
  • She was voted by her peers to serve on the Store Director Council for the Southern division, where she met with division leadership and other store director peers each quarter to explore ways to improve division operations.
  • Beyond her store, Czech volunteered with team members at the Tarrant County Food Bank, in Fort Worth, and supported the Newark, Texas, Fire Department in her community.

Tiffany Sterling

Assistant Director, Tom Thumb Store #2578, Garland, Texas

  • While her store director was on leave due to a tragic accident, Sterling took over management of the store and provided constant communication and guidance that kept the team together during a difficult time.
  • Her strong performance earned her a Merchandising Excellence award and a Quad Green Food Safety award; she achieved 90.9% NPS customer service and reached $177,000 above projection on EBITDA during Q2 2023.
  • Sterling supported the Albertsons Pride Alliance associate resource group and the Pride Parade in north Texas, served holiday meals at the North Texas Food Bank, and collected toys for the annual Toys for Tots drive.

Samantha Merithew

Manager, Tops Markets Store #586, Camden, N.Y. 

  • Merithew’s attention to detail was reflected in her superior store conditions, exemplary compliance with company and legal standards, and creation of a safety-centric work environment that resulted in zero workplace accidents in 2023; these factors led her store to earn a 95.98% internal store assessment.
  • She achieved a sales trend that was 1.2% better than the previous year because of her efforts to effectively cross-merchandise and thus maximize sales.
  • Merithew’s participation in the annual Taste of Syracuse event helped support two deserving community nonprofits: Sleep in Heavenly Peace and Peace Inc. Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Onondaga County.

Veronica Rosales

Director, Vons Store #2090, Huntington Beach, Calif.

  • Rosales consistently exceeded her sales and earnings projections and led the district in identical-sales increase year over year; her store also delivered exceptional EBITDA results and always led the district in promotional events and challenges.
  • Despite an extensive and difficult remodel, she guided her team to exceed ROI expectations and delivered a Full, Fresh, Friendly and clean store to her guests daily, growing sales throughout the process.
  • An extremely low store turnover rate was proof of her commitment to creating a supportive, welcoming, inclusive and fair work environment; she additionally instituted a free snack stand in the breakroom.

Jinah Kim

Store Team Leader, Whole Foods Market, Third and 3rd, Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • Displaying exceptional leadership skills in overseeing one of the top-performing Whole Foods Market stores, Kim successfully facilitated 1.3 million-plus transactions, showcasing her ability to drive remarkable results.
  • A strong believer in promoting from within and in providing ample opportunities for her team to develop, she promoted more than 35 team members to leadership positions, and she also actively mentored and supported aspiring female team members.
  • Beyond her impressive store performance, Kim has also made a significant impact on her community through her dedication to supporting food recovery efforts; she has helped provide more than 248,000 pounds of food to help food-insecure Brooklynites.  
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