Category C: (200+ Stores), Finalist

Brandon Welch

Brookshire Grocery Company
Monroe, LA

Brandon Welch may have come full circle, but his sphere of influence is impressively large, too. He started his career bagging groceries at the same Brookshire Grocery Co. store he now manages, and where he has come to inspire and motivate team members, shoppers and community members alike.

The lessons he learned from those early days in 2005 and subsequent years with Brookshire helped him catapult his store to some impressive performances. Despite supply chain struggles, labor shortages and the persistent COVID-19 pandemic, he maintained the store’s sales and in-stock conditions by constantly communicating with the store and distribution center teams, building relationships among supplier partners and ordering early for holidays and special events. By focusing on eliminating unnecessary shrink and reducing expenses, he helped his location post sales increases every period for the last 12 periods.

Welch is protective of the store that shaped his vocation. When Brookshire opened a new location less than 10 miles away, it was projected to siphon at least 15% of Welch’s sales; while the new store’s sales met expectations, his store did not see a dip. In fact, he’s leading his store to trend at a 1.6% increase over the previous year.

The continued strength of this location is a testament to his longevity as well as his tenacity and out-of-the-box thinking. For example, after noticing a decline in online sales, he and his team visited nearby assisted living residences, where they taught staff how to set up the store’s app for residents. The outreach resulted in new online sales and an overall 0.26% sales lift.

In addition to making it easier for people to shop at the store he manages, Welch has taken steps to improve the community at large. He is the campaign leader for “Team Welch” for the United Way of Northeast Louisiana, serves on the board of The Living Well Foundation and is an executive on the local Chamber of Commerce. He received a community leadership award from the mayor of West Monroe for his community service efforts.

Welch’s positive ideas and influence extend to his internal team. Using weekly meeting with team leaders, group chats, email groups and on-on-one meetings, he adheres to an open door policy. He strives to provide opportunities for partners with diverse backgrounds and developed cross-training initiatives to ensure efficiencies across the store. Following a historic ice storm in 2021, Welch personally transported partners from their homes to work.

Lifting both people and the bottom line led Welch to earn a “Store Director of the Year” award for his division. You might say he had it in the bag from his first days on the job as a young associate.

“To improve customer service, Brandon placed an in-store comment box labeled, ‘What can we do better?’ at the cash office. He checked it weekly and addressed each request, ranging from an extra mobile riding cart, umbrellas in the foyer for clerks to use walking customers to their cars, water pallets at the entrance for clerks to pick up for customers upon check out, new hand-scanners for faster check-out, and extra chairs for the pharmacy waiting area.”