Store Manager Award Finalist Alex Spurlock

Category C: (200+ Stores), Finalist

Alex Spurlock

QFC - The Kroger Co.
Redmond, Washington

If you watch Alex at work for a few shifts at the QFC store in Redmond, Washington, owned by the Kroger Family of Companies, you can see how her approach to work and mentorship was influenced by the time she spent as a soccer player. It's not just the hustle and competitive spirit, either: it's the way she sees a path to the goal, anticipates moves that may get in the way, and rallies her team to get the best performance from them as individuals and as a group. She's also taken to heart lessons about coaching, whether she's quietly encouraging one associate with special needs or handing out what has become her signature duck-themed "Quacktastic" awards that are admittedly cheesy but beloved by staff.

Every day is a big game at her store, given that the community has grown from a sleepy hamlet to the bustling home of tech giants Microsoft and Nintendo. Those population trends have affected traffic, but they also influence the way the store within the Bella Bottega development serves its customers: for example, given the fact that many shoppers in the area are Asian and Indian, Alex has made changes to the assortment to include more culturally traditional and relevant foods.

She gets a lot of wins in her column as a store leader. This year, the Redmond location became the first QFC to earn a perfect score in the company's operational excellence metrics and standards for store and customer experience, and the store also achieved its goals for wages, variable expenses and total controllables. Alex has cut shrink, went beyond her goal for pickup fill rates and helped lift ecommerce sales. This store was one of only a handful of Kroger locations chosen to test digital price tags, a testament to her capabilities and openness to new technologies.

Such accomplishments are even more notable when Alex's relatively short 10-year industry tenure is taken into account. She has packed a lot of learning in that decade, however, working in several positions throughout the store, starting as a rookie in the deli, honing her skills in merchandising and steadily moving up to her current role as store leader.

Her leadership style includes an intent focus on mentorship. Under her watch, an assistant store leader has been promoted to store leader and another to division multicultural specialist. Alex sees mentorship through a larger lens, too, as co-chair of QFC's EDGE associate resource group that seeks to empower and support female associates in her division and in her work with nonprofit organizations such as Girls on the Run and the Lunch Box group that feeds the unhoused community.

While she draws on her athletic experience in her current career, Alex's backstory is poignant in other ways. She struggled greatly after losing her mom, and, after overcoming that challenge, she found purpose in her work as she connected with people in the store and the community. As her nominator declared, "she makes it look easy, but it hasn't always been."