Save Mart Names Outstanding Store Manager

Save Mart Supermarkets has named Luke Houston, store manager of the Scenic and Oakdale Save Mart in Modesto, Calif., as the 2012 Nicholas J. Tocco Outstanding Store Manager of the Year Award. The 10 nominees were presented during the company’s annual management appreciation gala on Saturday, Jan. 12.

“Luke has only one speed and that is full throttle; his leadership has improved every store he managed,” said Ed Popke, VP of Save Mart Operations. “Sales and profits grow every quarter and his team always gives excellent customer service.”

Houston began his grocery career at Gemco and worked for Lucky stores in the South Bay for 11 years. He was hired by Save Mart in July of 1990 and was promoted to store manager in 1997. This was his fourth time to be honored in the Top Ten. “I am both honored and humbled by my selection,” Houston said. “I am fortunate to have an outstanding staff and to have been associated with and inspired by some excellent leaders throughout my career.”

David Gonzales of Save Mart on North Milburn in Fresno; and Rich Alstad of Save Mart on Standiford in Modesto, were named first and second runners-up, respectively.

This year’s Nicholas J. Tocco nominees included:

  • Tony Angoletta- Save Mart store in Riverbank
  • Vince Messina- FoodMaxx store on Lone Tree Way in Antioch
  • Rick VanMatre- Save Mart store on West Goshen Avenue in Visalia
  • Kelly Bizzini- Save Mart store in Ripon
  • Joe Ribeiro- S-Mart Foods on Quail Lakes Drive in Stockton
  • Tom Brooks- Save Mart in Paradise
  • Vince McFarland- Save Mart on South Tracy Blvd. in Tracy

The Store Manager of the Year award, presented by Save Mart Supermarkets owner and chairman Bob Piccinini, was founded 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 a cash award. Runners up receive a cash award and all nominees receive a framed certificate.

Save Mart Supermarkets operates 226 stores throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, Maxx Value Foods, and FoodMaxx banners.