By: Leslie Sarasin, President & CEO, FMI
Decades of outside-the-box thinking have revolutionized the grocery shopping experience. From big-box stores to small independent operators, food retailers of all sizes and styles have optimized their offerings to keep pace with consumer preferences and offer the best in customer service. Such evolution would not be possible without the vision-driven efforts of passionate food industry professionals who remain focused on raising the bar. One such professional is Mike Stone, CEO of Mollie Stone’s Markets and recipient of FMI’s 2022 Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
Striving to live up to his company’s slogan, "Making a difference in people’s lives through food," Mike implemented a community-first approach to his San Francisco Bay Area-based company. By partnering with local farms and artisan brands, Mollie Stone’s actively supports its local economy, while guaranteeing fresh, healthy and affordable products to its customers. Stone successfully offers a diversity of product options to address the divergent values of Mollie Stone’s shoppers, providing a wide assortment of organic and specialty products, complimented by a variety of conventional groceries and full-service departments.
Like any community-oriented entrepreneur, Mike’s innovative impact extends far beyond his stores. During recent times of anxiety and societal turbulence, Mollie Stone’s Markets donated resources to hospitals, food banks, schools, first responders, and various non-profits that include financial support, personal protective equipment (PPE), food, volunteers and customer match programs. Such thoughtful corporate-social leadership demonstrates Mike’s mastery of the kind of socially conscious, ethical entrepreneurship that is a hallmark of the food industry.
When asked about his passion for entrepreneurship, Mike shared, “We’re always in a relentless pursuit of perfection. We strive every day to make a difference in people’s lives through food.” It is this industriousness and professional zeal that makes Mike Stone an exceptional example of entrepreneurial excellence in our industry.
Hear Stone’s full remarks from his Robert B. Wegman Award acceptance speech below.