Store Manager, ShopRite Supermarkets, New Rochelle, N.Y.
ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc.
The term “challenge” may be an understatement, actually.
In mid-March 2020, the nation’s first cluster of novel coronavirus cases was identified in New Rochelle, New York. While grocery stores around the country were beginning to contend with shoppers stocking up on essentials, Salcito and his team of 212 associates at the New Rochelle ShopRite had to run their operation as the National Guard was sent in to surround the community in a containment zone. Shoppers at this headline-making epicenter were frantic and store employees were worried.
Amid what could have been chaos, Salcito personally connected with employees from each shift and navigated constant workforce changes due to illness, quarantine and other issues. During the acute phase of the containment situation, he coordinated the donation of dry goods to community members in need, distributed by the National Guard.
Salcito’s leadership was pivotal as the COVID-19 pandemic wore on. Among other adjustments, he bolstered the Shop from Home operation within the store and shifted the prepared food setup from hot tables to heat-and-eat and ready-to-eat items that could be taken home. As he helped grow ecommerce sales 55% despite limited space and staff, he also blunted the impact on sales and shrink by working closely with his team to provide products that met shoppers’ needs and making them feel safe with measures like store occupancy limits, face coverings and increased sanitation.
As if overcoming one crisis wasn’t enough, Salcito was tapped in August 2020 to transform a ShopRite store in Oakland, New Jersey that had been acquired by ShopRite Supermarkets. In this case, it was less about reactions to rapidly unfolding events and more about improving operational areas and business standards and engaging team members. Under his guidance, store associates’ participation in a new training/development platform grew from zero to 76%.
Although 2020 was largely about shepherding people through a time of great disruption, Salcito’s efforts helped protect ShopRite’s business, too. Fiscal year sales growth at his store spiked 10.5%, nearly seven percentage points higher than the company’s figures and operating income was up $1.2 million from the previous year.
“’Say it again, then say it again and again.’ John lives by these words and adds in a special ingredient called ‘active listening.’ He effectively gauges associates’ understanding and is respectfully relentless with communicating his expectations and company standards.”
--Alina Svizzero, director of human resources, ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.
From June 7 – 11, 2021, FMI will host our People’s Pick category, where we ask the public to vote for their favorite Store Manager Awards finalist.