DALLAS, TX — May 11, 2011 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced the Grand Prize winners of the 12th Annual Store Manager Awards today at Future Connect, which include:

  • Shawn Commons, store manager at PriceRite Supermarket in Reading, PA — Category A, companies with 1-49 stores.

  • Allan Bussey, store director at the Brookshire Grocery Co. in Tyler, TX — Category B, companies with 50-199 stores.

  • Kristi Masterson, store director at Hy-Vee in Sioux Falls, SD — Category C, companies with 200 or more stores.

“FMI celebrates these successful store managers for the leadership they demonstrate in their stores, for the contributions they make in their communities and the innovative ways they increase sales,” says FMI President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin. “We know the diligence it takes to generate sales growth and make a positive impact in this competitive marketplace and we salute all of them for their extraordinary work.”

Finalists are selected based on stories submitted from their supervisors or store associates. The entries were judged on originality and creativity and the person’s impact on sales growth, customer satisfaction and community service.

The three grand prize winners were chosen from a group of nine finalists. The other finalists include:

Category A:

  • Tom Gordon, store manager at Byerly’s in Maple Grove, MN

  • Bill Skeard, store manager at The Gardens, Corner Brook, NL, Canada

Category B:

  • Tracey Hershenhorn, store manager at Price Chopper Supermarket, Burlington, VT

  • Ray Brose, store manager at Sweetbay Supermarket, Cape Coral, FL

Category C:

  • Rusty Stewart, store manager at The Kroger Company, Newnan, GA

  • Ray Waldrop, store director at BI-LO Supermarket, Rock Hill, SC

All the finalists received two complimentary registrations to Future Connect and three nights of hotel accommodations in Dallas. The grand prize winners each were presented a $1,000 check during an award ceremony and received a crystal award.

Shawn Commons is the store manager at PriceRite Supermarket in Reading, PA. In his three years as store manager, Commons has concentrated on building and nurturing a young, highly motivated store team that reflects the community it serves: more than 60 percent of his employees are Hispanic with bilingual capabilities. Commons’ team has increased sales and profitability each year, including 2010 when his store exceeded $19 million in annual sales and approached the million dollar mark in net income. Throughout his tenure, a majority of his key management positions have been filled through internal promotions. Commons’ business philosophy is to make sure that his customers and his store associates know they are the store’s greatest asset. The annual PriceRite Customer Satisfaction Survey measures the store’s ability to satisfy customers as well as motivate, reward and recognize store associates. Commons’ store has continuously ranked first or second among 46 stores in the company-wide survey. He consistently reaches out to the community to support national and local charities, including the Hispanic Heritage Festival stationed in the store parking lot. More than 2,000 people attended and helped raise money for Reading, PA charities. Commons and his management team also participate in a local school’s career day, highlighting supermarket operations and exposing students to the many career opportunities available within the industry.

Allan Bussey is the store director at Brookshire Grocery Co. in Tyler, TX. He is recognized as one of the company’s most distinguished and respected leaders, known for his store operational skills and his own special brand of finesse in leading, mentoring and motivating people. Bussey has mentored six associates who are now store directors, and eight employees from his staff have been promoted into management positions just this year. He believes that delegating properly by entrusting and empowering associates enhances their self-esteem and confidence, and that is directly reflected in sales and profits. For the October through December 2010 period, the store produced a 3.23 percent sales increase and a 8.31 percent gross profit increase over the previous year, with Thanksgiving sales jumping 6.68 percent and Christmas week soaring 17.85 percent. Indicative of Bussey’s operating skills, his contribution to overhead numbers showed an 18.95 percent increase for the period while his net profit for the quarter produced an astounding 203.36 percent increase over the previous quarter. He understands the value of community involvement, both in building customer loyalty and fostering team-building. His team is active in several community events including the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, United Way Day of Caring, Fit City Day to encourage healthy eating and many more.

Kristi Masterson is the store director at Hy-Vee in Sioux Falls, SD. She is recognized for demonstrating great respect for others and giving her associates every opportunity to succeed. Masterson’s store relocated a few years ago to a building twice the size of the old store. She not only made the move successfully, she was able to increase sales by 31 percent in the first year after the move. Masterson personally conducts reviews of approximately 125 regular and full-time employees. She believes that her job is not only about sales and profits but growing new leaders too. Three of her managers have gone on to run their own stores. She gives department managers free reign to plan promotions and sales, offering guidance only when needed. Her leadership extends into the community, working with Junior Achievement, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and other community groups. She is a strong believer in teaching kids the importance of healthy, active lifestyles and has successfully increased participation in the area’s Kids Triathlon for the last two years.

The 2010 grand prize winners were Dave McCleery, Russ’s Market in Lincoln, NE; Sharon Boyett, Brookshire Grocery Co. in Monroe, LA; and Molly Stiles, The Kroger Company in Farragut, TN.