Adam Thao

Category C: (200+ Stores), Finalist

Adam Thao

King Soopers - The Kroger Co.
Erie, Colorado

One wouldn’t think being popular is a problem, but it does come with its own set of challenges. That’s true in life and in the retail business, as store manager Adam Thao has discovered at the helm of a King Soopers store, owned by the Kroger Family of Companies, in Erie, Colorado

The population in the area has surged in the last several years and the store is the only supermarket within a 10-minute drive, making it a high-volume operation. As the shopper base at the 124,000-square-foot Marketplace-format store continues to edge higher, Adam has risen to the occasion. 

Steering a large team of 240 associates as they serve an average of 35,000 shoppers a week, he leverages his strong communication skills through daily huddles, store walks, regular listening sessions and weekly department leader meetings. One can often find Adam on the floor, helping customers and inspiring associates.  

The results of his unfailing positivity, sense of teamwork and accomplishments as a manager are on an enviable upward trajectory. At a time when some stores were struggling to keep up with growth rates reached during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent inflationary period, his store notched a healthy bump in year-to-date sales. The location is regularly one of the top two performing sales locations across the banner. During the second quarter of the latest fiscal year, the store earned a near perfect score in the company’s operational excellence metrics and standards for store and customer experience, and the location had the best overtime rate. In the third quarter, he guided the store to achieve the best EBITDA in the business district, the best controllable out-of-stocks and the best shrink.  

Importantly, consumers notice the attention to detail in a store that is heavily trafficked. Adam’s location earned perfect scores for cleanliness, front-end friendliness and a full and fresh produce department.  

With so much positivity, it’s not surprising that Adam especially shines during the holiday season which is marked by even more volume and a focus on doing good. This past year, the store was the only one in the district to exceed its fundraising goal, raising more than $14,000 during that season, and its annual Sharing Tree project resulted in the delivery of holiday gifts to a local children’s hospital. He is credited with enhancing community relations and taking part in the Erie Festival of Lights and town fair. Intent on giving back year-round, too, he strengthened ties with the local food bank by donating nearly 22,000 pounds of rescued food.  

Adam also received high marks from King Soopers and The Kroger Co. and is regularly recognized with quarterly awards for his store’s performance. Adam is active within the organization, too, as a member of the President’s Council and a participant in mentorship leadership program preparing assistant store leaders to become store leaders. His training there, combined with his innate interest and talent in lifting others up, drives his commitment to associate development across his division. Adam's strategic leadership allows him to recognize team strengths, successfully transitioning team members to other departments when necessary.