By: Elizabeth Mackin, Assistant, Education, Food Marketing Institute

2018 SMA As a newcomer to the food retail industry, I spent a great deal of time learning the various ways grocers dedicate their lives to feeding families and enriching lives. Over the past year, I’ve taken great joy in witnessing the incremental role store managers play in the industry. It’s undeniable that these food retail professionals possess a unique quality of leadership, and an incredibly diverse skill set that, in a single day, ranges from being a professional circus ringleader to a strategically, savvy business operator. But, above all else, it’s clear that they’re ingrained in the hearts of the communities they serve.

Whether it’s creating in-store programs that benefit youth development, improving the health of neighborhoods, or assisting those in need, it’s store managers who intricately connect a supermarket into the lives of its shoppers. They’re not only key to a company’s financial success, but fundamental to the foundation of what defines a community. Long-time food retail industry veteran, Sheila Laing, chief administrative officer at Hy-Vee, Inc., knows how a store manager has the power to shape their neighborhood. As a former judge of FMI’s Store Manager Awards program, Sheila explains the crucial role store managers hold in their towns and in food retail. Watch here:

Do you know an exemplary store manager? Nominate them today for FMI’s Store Manager Awards. Visit