Donna Maxwell_150

Category C: (200+ Stores)

Donna Maxwell

Harris Teeter, LLC
California, Md.

Donna Maxwell’s secret to managerial success is staying grounded – literally.

For one thing, she spends as much time as possible on the floor of her Harris Teeter store in California, Maryland. It’s there that she meets regularly with staff to make sure they are informed and motivated, lends an ear and a hand to shoppers and evaluates the store’s assortment and displays.

Being on the floor has made the difference in her efforts to transform that location from a rather rundown store to a go-to place in the community in less than three years. In 2020, Maxwell’s store posted a 33% sales increase from the previous year and exceeded the operating profit goal by $2.5 million. Her store received its first million-dollar award for operating profit. At the same time, labor performance at this location was 1.5 points under her budget in 2020. Labor has improved in other ways on Maxwell’s watch, as she created a series of service classes for every associate in her building and helped to train and develop eight manager trainees placed in her location.

She also boosted the California store’s reputation – and operating profit – by using the grounds to hold a variety of outdoor sales events, including an open-air farmer’s market and baked goods market, crab boil and barbecue. The events generated significant incremental revenue while also strengthening relationships with the community and customers. Fundraisers held at the store were also instrumental to the community, which supported local food banks and the military. Here, too, Maxwell was an active participant, donating some of her own valuable memorabilia to help the causes.

Listening and interacting at the ground level also helped Maxwell get through challenges wrought by the pandemic in 2020, as she improved order counts from 300 or 400 a week to more than 850 with virtually no late orders or discrepancies.

Maxwell’s work in turning around her California store through a hands-on style has also gained her company recognition. Among other accolades, she was chosen to take part in Harris Teeter’s store director certification program and leadership mentor program.

“The outdoor events and fundraisers Maxwell has done with the community have made her a well-known staple in the community, which has made her customers see her and her team as the best place to get taken care of and treated properly while shopping.” --Nominator John Caveny, vice president of human resources, Harris Teeter LLC