Ten nominees for the award were recognized during the event. "Lynn Patricio is the store manager to talk to about customer service excellence," said Save Mart president Steve Junqueiro. "She knows how a store should run. She has defined the meaning of going 'above and beyond' to keep her customers happy and coming back. Lynn has earned the honor of being named this year's Store Manager of the Year."
Patricio started her grocery career in 1972 at her family's store, Patricio's Market in Los Banos, first as a bagger and then finally as store manager. She joined Save Mart in 1987 and by 1990 was promoted to store manager of what was then store No. 28 in Sonora. She was on the team that opened the Timber Hills Save Mart store -- also in Sonora -- and was later named its manager.
Under her management, the store has twice set company records for profitability. Patricio has actively participated in the company's manager-mentoring program and in community fundraising activities for the Girl Scouts and Sonora Regional Medical Center. This is the third time Patricio has been a Store Manager of the Year award nominee.
"I was raised in the grocery business, and I am happy to have the opportunity to work for a company that mirrors so many of the values, morals and ethics that I was raised with," said Patricio. "My father taught me the basics and showed me the importance of integrity, discipline, patience and determination. He showed me how to treat employees and how to take care of customers, so I dedicate this award to my dad."
Tim Rice, Save Mart store manager in Merced, and Duane Hollers, Save Mart store manager in Visalia -- were named first and second runners-up, respectively.
The other Store Manager of the Year nominees were Rick Van Matre, Save Mart, Visalia; Danny Coffman, Save Mart, Modesto; Mike Moreno; Save Mart, Oakdale; Larry Rotelli, Save Mart, Ripon; Greg Wagenman, Save Mart, Turlock; Rick Rapada, Save Mart, Fresno; and Greg Ross, Lucky, Oakland.
The Store Manager of the Year award, presented by Save Mart owner and chairman Bob Piccinini, was created in honor of the late Nicholas J. Tocco, co-founder of Save Mart Supermarkets.
Nominees for the award must meet the company's standards for store performance, customer service, and community involvement. The winner receives an etched blown glass vase, travel certificate, and cash. Runners up receive a cash award and all nominees receive a framed certificate.
Modesto, Calif.-based Save Mart operates approximately 250 stores throughout northern California and northern Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky and FoodMaxx banners.