Cathy Moloney Store Manager Award Finalist

Category A: (1-25 Stores), Finalist

Cathy Moloney

Hanover Co-op Food Stores of New Hampshire and Vermont
White River Junction, Vermont

The best locally-sourced offerings at this Hanover store in White River Junction, Vermont include its store manager, Cathy Moloney. She began her grocery career in 1976 as a teenager in town and today, directs a team ranging from teenagers to seniors.

A lot of things at this local supermarket have changed over the years, but some things have not – and that, too, has defined Cathy as a store manager. For example, the building itself has essentially the same footprint as it did when it was built in the 1960s, with 10,250 square feet of retail space, 5,000 square feet of backroom space and a loading dock with a single garage door entrance that is used by at least 170 trucks a week. The single walk-in cooler is shared by several departments, including dairy, deli, produce, prepared foods and beer. There are only three open registers and one express lane up front.

To optimize the limited – and limiting – space, Cathy uses every inch to create displays that are appealing but do not make the store look cluttered. For example, floral arrangements are merchandised in a display rack that doubles as a colorful divider between the wine display and a customer flow area. In the produce section, organic and conventional fruits and vegetables are showcased in a way that saves space while meeting food safety and display requirements.

Likewise, although the community is diverse, the population hasn’t changed dramatically in recent years. There have been no new residential developments or large businesses coming to town, which means Cathy again has to find other avenues of growth.

Here, too, she has succeeded by focusing on service. “That is why people come back – they like the store and shopping there feels less burdensome to them. No gimmicks. No glitzy displays,” her nominators point out.

Results have been remarkable. Average weekly sales are three times higher than they were in 2010. Her store’s performance has exceeded budget over the last 13 of 14 years, and even in the off year, only missed the mark by $5. (“If only I’d brought another box of donuts for the breakroom, we would have made budget,” she joked at the time.)

She credits her team of 60, including several part-time workers as well as long-time employees, with helping her achieve impressive metrics. To identify and nurture new talent across the organization, she designed an assistant store manager program that is now used in all three Hanover locations,

Recognizing that an optimized store and workforce only work when in tune with the larger community, Cathy lends her time and resources to several outreach initiatives. She has led and supported a range of community programs and advocates for Hanover’s Food for All program which provides an everyday discount of 10% off many products that qualify for SNAP or WIC assistance. She and her team have collected thousands of pounds of food for local food banks, again underscoring the importance of thinking big while acting local.