By: Rebecca Daniels, Manager, Education, FMI

SMAEvery year FMI recognizes top store manager talent among FMI member retailers through the FMI Store Manager Awards. Upon my arrival to FMI, I learned the Store Manager Awards are an FMI staff favorite. The recognition and celebration of store managers, who form the backbone of the food retail industry, is something we can all stand behind. With each passing iteration of the program, I, too, continue to grow in my appreciation for store managers and their impactful work. Prior to launching the 2022 Store Manager Awards nomination portal, I took some time to connect with FMI members who regularly participate in this program. With perspectives from human resources, communications, and executive leadership, these individuals shared with me why they support and nominate store managers through the Store Manager Awards. Here is what I learned: 

The FMI Store Manager Awards have become a prestigious medium of celebration and recognition for store managers, their companies, and our industry.  

For over twenty years FMI has been celebrating store managers through the Store Manager Awards. The awards create a space for all store managers to be recognized, not just within their own companies, but across the industry. 

The FMI Store Manager Awards matter in part to our company because it creates a platform for our company to shine. Most importantly, it’s an avenue in which we get to share our company’s story and terrific leaders with industry peers we admire. – Matt Montan, employee experience (EX) business partner, Lunds Food Holding, Inc. 

“To be nominated is an honor unto itself. But certainly, we’ve had several who have gone on to win. We make a big deal out of that accomplishment with the media and in their family’s presence within their hometowns. We have a real celebration to recognize these managers; they are the backbone of our company.” – Steve Smith, president and CEO, K-VA-T Food Stores 

Being nominated for an FMI Store Manger Award is an achievement.

Simply being nominated is an honor for store managers. Every year, we challenge our members to nominate their most outstanding candidates from their pool of store managers. When a company takes the substantial time and effort to nominate a manager, this is an acknowledgement of the manager’s top tier performance within the company. 

“The awards program is held in high regard at Hy-Vee. We feel that an FMI Store Manager of the Year nomination is an award in itself. That’s why we put a lot of careful consideration into the selection process.” – Larry Ballard, Director, Customer Communications, Hy-Vee Inc. 

“We want to make sure our best of the best gets recognized and honored by being nominated by our company and hopefully have the chance to compete against the best at other companies for Store Manager of the Year.” – Steve Smith, president and CEO,  K-VA-T Food Stores 

All store manager leaders deserve recognition.

In day-to-day tasks, the store manager can easily become an unsung hero. But the work of the store manager is worth acknowledging and is valued by our industry. Companies know how important store managers are and believe they are worth an industry level celebration. 

“Recognition is important to our company… Internally we take great pride in the daily efforts of our [store manager] leaders and it’s only right they get a moment to see our pride.” – Matt Montan, employee experience (EX) business partner, Lunds Food Holding, Inc. 

“Hy-Vee endeavors to be the best place to work and shop in America, and our store leaders are key to reaching that goal. We believe their work is worthy of recognition by the entire retail food industry.” – Larry Ballard, Director, Customer Communications, Hy-Vee, Inc. 

“We are very proud of our store managers. They have the most difficult job in our company and in most other companies. They work a lot of time when other people don’t—the weekends and a lot of holidays. They have so many roles—from a financial expert to psychologist. I think back to the last 20 months, when a lot of people hunkered down at home and these men and women showed up five to six days a week, without... concern for themselves. They gave to their companies, their communities, and really to their customers. It is really unique individuals that are able to do this work and do it well. Being able to honor these people is really unique opportunity.” – Steve Smith, president and CEO,  K-VA-T Food Stores 

There is good and important work taking place at grocery stores every day because of store managers. We look forward to celebrating and elevating store managers across the country and the globe once again in 2022 through the Store Manager Awards. If you know an outstanding store manager, nominate them for FMI’s 2022 Store Manager Awards.