Amanda Gulley Store Manager Award Finalist

Category B: (26-199 Stores), Finalist

Amanda Gulley

K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., d/b/a Food City
Morristown, Tennessee

Tokens of appreciation aren’t just a concept for Amanda, who takes time to send handwritten holiday cards to the store’s top 100 customers each year, writes out personal greeting cards to store associates on their birthdays and hosts team cookouts celebrating recent wins. Her gestures are kind but also underscore her thoughtful leadership style, attention to detail and keen awareness of important occasions.

Her understanding of the power of recognition stems from a lifelong career in the grocery industry, through which Amanda has seen just about every aspect of the business. She started as a cashier at age 16 and continually moved around and up over the past 27 years.

Today, her thoughtful style helps her differentiate this Food City store from competitors, including a nearby value store that recently underwent a remodel. Amanda’s store upped its game, too, with a major product reset and the addition of a new Starbucks café. Thinking about shopper needs, she and her team launched several foodservice programs unique to the market area, including in-store sushi, a fresh brick oven pizza program and in-store smoked meat program that did so well that it became an example to other Food City stores.

Beyond the physical store, her attentiveness extends to members of the community in need. The team at this store supports Food City’s outreach programs including the annual Race Against Hunger Campaign and Friends & Pets in Need campaign. On a personal level, Amanda is active with a local food bank, chairs the company’s KARE program that provides monetary assistance to associates during times of need and crisis, and belongs to several civic organizations. Bringing her efforts full circle, several of the students that she mentored through the Boys & Girls Clubs and local jobs program have gone on to work for Food City and some have received special awards from the state.

Although Amanda is considerate, that doesn’t mean she’s not competitive. In addition to firing up her team to deliver on service and satisfaction, she constantly looks for improvements on both the consumer-facing part of the business and on the operations side. Recently, she streamlined the district’s monthly 3D department shrink recap forms by creating a link for all participants to upload their data, making the process faster and more manageable. She also tested the company's new electronic performance review that simplifies employee evaluations and makes them more impactful. Meanwhile, the reset she oversaw helped spur higher sales that outpaced district and companywide results and led to customer service scores surpassing goals. A perfect mystery shop score was icing on the cake. As a result of her excellent performance, she has been asked by the Food City organization to lead several special projects on behalf of her division.