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FMI Names Winners of Store Manager Awards Contest

The Food Marketing Institute yesterday revealed the grand prize winners of the 2008 Store Manager Awards in Las Vegas at the FMI Show plus MARKETECHNICS: Ralph Towery, manager of the MarketPlace Foods store in Minot, N.D. (Category A, companies with 1-49 stores); Cheryl Rondenelli, manager of a Hannaford Bros. Co. supermarket in Clinton, N.Y. (Category B, companies with 50-199 stores); and Mark Halvorson, manager of a Cub Foods store in St. Paul, Minn. (Category C, companies with 200 or more stores).

Towery has rolled out such special programs as a graduation cake promotion in the bakery department, which has become so popular that the store has to bring in a semi-tractor trailer to deliver all the pre-ordered cakes. His store also offers a variety of breast cancer awareness events that benefit an area hospital cancer unit, and he chaired a committee that built a new baseball field for the local youth program.

Rondenelli participates in charity walks, fund drives, and event planning for organizations aiding children, medical research, the local food bank, and schools.

After the Interstate 35 bridge collapse last summer Halvorson quickly organized food, water, and other essential supplies for rescue workers and others responding to the tragedy. In the days followed the collapse, he emerged as the point person for coordinating Cub's overall response to the disaster. Additionally, Halvorson draws from a diverse market in hiring associates: More than half the store's associates are foreign-born.

The three grand prize winners were selected from a group of nine finalists. The other six finalists were Jeffrey Iwamuro, Potash Bros. Market, Chicago; Dale Kahn, Bi-Lo, Cleveland, Tenn.; Bob Kees, Sissonville Foodland, Sissonville, W.V.; Ramiro Marquez, Bashas', San Luis, Ariz.; Mitch Streit, Hy-Vee, Columbus, Neb.; and Janice Yergeau, Hannaford Bros., Hooksett, N.H.

All of the finalists received two tickets to the trade show, three nights of hotel accommodations in Las Vegas, and a trophy. The grand prize winners each received a $1,000 check at the Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2008 session.

For the competition, companies submitted entries showing how store managers have performed in serving their customers, companies, or communities. The nominees are rated according to originality, creativity, and the impact on sales growth.
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