By: Rebecca Daniels, Assistant, Education, Food Marketing Institute

The responsibilities of store managers are shifting just as rapidly as the food retail industry itself. No longer are these incredibly hardworking individuals just responsible for running brick and mortar operations, they’re running complex, multi-faceted businesses. While navigating the ever-changing needs of consumers online and in-store, they remain consequential cornerstones of their communities. Please meet the 2019 Store Manager Awards finalists:

Category A: (1-49 Stores) Finalists



A Lori Hodgkinson ShopRite_450Lori Hodgkinson, ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc., Croton-On-Hudson, New York

Lori Hodgkinson thinks “engagement” whenever she thinks about how to improve financial performance at her ShopRite of Croton. That is, engagement with employees. Hodgkinson adds team-building activities into almost every weekly department manager meeting. 

A Jeff Kramm Lunds Byerlys_450Jeff Kramm, Lunds & Byerlys, Wayzata, Minnesota

Jeff Kramm takes what he calls a “bells and whistles” approach to marketing. He doesn’t want any customer to leave the store without everything they need and want. Customer service surveys prove Kramm may be on to something. Customers approved in 2018 with a 67-percent score for selection of products, 81 percent for friendliness of cashiers and 75 percent for quality of products. 


A Tom Slott Martins_450

Tom Slott, Martin’s Super Markets, Inc., Granger, Indiana

Store manager Tom Slott caused customer count to grow 8.3 percent over the last five years. Once a customer is in the store, it's his goal to deliver the best service possible by executing innovative in-store experiences. This incredible ability to communicate also translated to team development and a long list of assistant store managers becoming store managers at other Martin’s Super Markets.

Category B: (50-199 Stores) Finalists


B Tim Collins Food City_450Tim Collins, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., Pikeville, Kentucky

Tim Collins’ reputation as a promotor and merchandiser extends far beyond the walls of the Food City store he manages. Collins’ store typically ranks as one of the top five performers in the Food City chain when it comes to promotional sales activity and customer loyalty programs. Evidence for customer loyalty can be found in the numbers: More than 86 percent of his total store sales are generated by his base (most frequent) customers.

B Jackson_Ray19_450Ray Jackson, Brookshire Grocery Company, Hallsville, Texas

Ray Jackson took over leadership of his current store in 2012 and showcased a 38-year career with the company last year by winning its Store Director of the Year award. When employees deliver truly remarkable customer service or go above and beyond in their jobs, Jackson presents them with a special token or a ribbon to display on their name badge.

B Brian McMillan Giant_450Brian McMillan, GIANT Food Stores LLC, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Competitively speaking, 2018 was a wild year for the GIANT Food Stores in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Store manager Brian McMillan was asked to absorb 48 new associates and to undergo extensive - and quick - enhancements to deal with both new competitors and staff additions. McMillan focuses on teaching, coaching, and lives the “One Team” culture, seen through associates having a great sense of energy, engagement, and positive morale.

Category C: (200+ Stores) Finalists


C Henry Samaniego Meijer_450Henry Samaniego, Meijer, Inc., Hudsonville, Michigan

Recognizing the needs of a changing marketplace, Henry Samaniego’s Meijer store first doubled and then tripled its sales of Hispanic items by constantly expanding and increasing the selection the store offered. Samaniego successfully implemented new omnichannel tactics including self-checkout, Shop and Scan and Meijer’s home delivery service. Last year, his store ranked No. 1 in the company for cashier performance, No. 1 in greetings, No. 8 in speed of checkout and No. 4 in overall customer focus.

C Bruce Yeo Frys_450Bruce Yeo, Fry’s Food Stores, Chandler, Arizona

Bruce Yeo knows he manages one of the “big dogs” of food retail: His sprawling Fry’s Food Stores is located at a busy intersection in suburban Chandler, Arizona. His store was named the best Marketplace store in its division. Every day, Yeo walks the floor and communicates constantly with every department on their progress toward store and companywide goals. Along with keeping one of his company’s busiest stores excelling on a day-to-day basis, Yeo found another niche as a superb talent developer.

Category D: (International)


D Marjana Jese Zuka SPAR_450Marjana Ješe Zuka, Spar Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Marjana Ješe Zuka has managed Spar Slovenia’s flagship store for the last four years. Zuka’s store has been the first to experiment with click-and-shop, self-checkout and new innovative layouts, truly making her store the
first stop for all new ideas and the company’s most promising new employees. She puts an emphasis on training workshops and the company’s e-learning platform. 

D Niki Scott Sobeys_450Niki Scott, Sobeys, Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador

Store Manager, Niki Scott, has built trust and dedication among her staff in the store that serves the community of Paradise. The “punch” rate - the number of employees who punch in late for their shifts - at her Sobeys is below 5 percent. Scott is an excellent mentor and is focused on helping employees grow their roles, advance levels, and receive training in multiple departments.

Learn more about the 2019 Store Manager Awards Finalists at Please cast your vote in the 2019 Store Manager Awards People's Pick Contest - VOTE HERE

  • Education
  • SMA