Category D: (International), Finalist, SMA

Ana Esther Estupiñán Rodríguez

SPAR Gran Canaria
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain

This is not the first time that Ana Esther Estupiñán Rodríguez has been singled out as an outstanding store manager. Thanks to her leadership and proven results, her SPAR location in Gran Canaria, also known as the Grand Canary Islands, nabbed a coveted Store of the Month award from the company, beating out more than 100 stores for its customer service marks, sales performance and loss reduction. Meanwhile, her training and mentorship skills were one factor in a colleague’s recognition as a SPAR Employee of the Month during that same competition. And, over the course of the past year, all area management and senior management visits to her store garnered high marks.

Behind the accolades is a lot of hard work and her own emphasis on evaluation as a part of excellence. Rodríguez conducts a yearly performance evaluation for every member of her team to identify successes and strengths as well as needs and challenges on an individual level. In addition, she recently rolled out a training program focused on employee motivation and engagement that consisted of several three-hour days in which employees worked on self-knowledge and behavior styles. Following that program, customers’ loyalty card use grew by a whopping 102.38 percent.

Rodríguez also turns the evaluation lens on herself. She launched a full review of her own role, asking team members to evaluate her performance on an annual basis. The results were markedly positive.

If honest introspection begets improvements in service, it can also lead to solid performances. In 2022, her location boosted sales by 7.54% over the previous year while reducing losses in bakery, deli and fresh foods below 2 percent. At the same time, she managed more than 20 new categories, deftly adapting the assortment to the existing store’s layout.

Her ability to determine needs and spring into action is likewise exemplified in her community relations initiatives. Among other programs, her store has supported environmental actions like coastal cleanups and raised funds for the “Asdownsur” Down Syndrome Association. Rodríguez is also a believer in the combination of sustainability, solidarity and the practice of sports and healthy living. Following that notion, her store in Gran Canaria is involved with a multi-disciplinary sporting event called the Arinaga Beach Raid and an open water swimming event, La “Travesía a Nado” Playa de Arinaga.

Not one to rest on any laurels, she is continuing her assessment-based efforts. Currently, Rodríguez is working on the creation of a QR code that links to a special customer service account for feedback and ideas. That shopper feedback will be used by her and her team to make even more improvements that ultimately set her store apart.

“Ana's evaluations are always very positive as the team sees her as a communicative, engaging, involved, and motivating leader.”