How SpartanNash Defines, Celebrates Culture

Food solutions company hosts leadership summit, as CEO Tony Sarsam talks with Progressive Grocer about its approach to people
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Hy-Vee Summit participant
SpartanNash invited 700 of its leaders and team members to Orlando for a summit and awards ceremony focused on a shared culture of excellence.

SpartanNash doesn’t just walk the walk when it comes to its self-declared “People First” culture – it also takes flight on that notion. The Michigan-based food solutions company recently hosted its annual leadership summit and Circle of Excellence celebration in Orlando, Fla., with a 2023 theme of “Flying in Formation.”

As its title suggests, the mid-September event underscored the importance and positive effects of a shared uplifting culture. Hundreds of employees across the company attended the four-day leadership program, which was founded three years ago by CEO Tony Sarsam and SVP of Communications Adrienne Chance.

“At SpartanNash, our annual Summit and Circle of Excellence events are a celebration of our People First culture, driving our mission to deliver the ingredients for a better life. Since its inception three years ago, it’s continued to be an event that inspires, educates and recognizes the Associates who are the heart and soul of our organization,” Sarsam remarked.

Added Chance: “It’s quite a remarkable thing to gather more than 700 leaders and frontline associates together in a special destination. This time is invaluable for strengthening teams, celebrating successes, and learning about how we can grow as individuals and as a company for the future.”

[Read more: “SpartanNash Promotes Exec to VP, Human Resources”]

At the event, leaders gathered for fresh inspirations, business insights and updates on the SpartanNash brand identity of “Our Winning Recipe” that serves as a guide for strategic direction and growth. The summit also included a ceremony recognizing winners of the latest Circle of Excellence awards program, honoring the top 0.5% frontline associates who have gone above and beyond their duty.

Tony Sarsam SpartanNash
SpartanNash CEO Tony Sarsam co-founded the leadership summit shorterly after coming on board three years ago.

Sarsam recently talked with Progressive Grocer about the multi-faceted approach to building that People First culture. At the company’s annual Food Solutions Expo in July – which included a celebration honoring its top 10 suppliers who deliver top-tier performances to independent grocery retailers and store guests – Sarsam pointed out that that fostering such a culture is a culture in and of itself. “It’s about more than just feeling good. It’s about actually having a commitment to people and thing that are important to people. It’s making sure we have a performance culture and a business that is going to thrive,” he explained. “We want to express that we value what people do, what they bring to work, and invest in them and create that environment where they can do their best work.”

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash operates two complementary business segments – food wholesale and grocery retail. Its global supply chain network serves wholesale customers that include independent and chain grocers, national retail brands, e-commerce platforms, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges. On the retail side, SpartanNash operates 144 brick-and-mortar grocery stores, primarily under the banners of Family Fare, Martin's Super Markets and D&W Fresh Market, in addition to dozens of pharmacies and fuel centers. The company is No. 41 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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