Category A: (1-25 Stores), Finalist, SMA

Greg Glisch

Skogen's Festival Foods
Hales Corners, WI

Talk about making a splash. As the director of Skogen’s Festival Foods’ first store in the Milwaukee market, Greg Glisch shepherded his location in Hales Corner, Wisc. to nab first place in the new store category of the company’s recent “Festy’s Bestys” awards.

Company recognition notwithstanding, he has also made a strong impression on area customers. That was not an easy task, as the banner was virtually unknown among shoppers in that metro area when it arrived on the retail scene. What’s more, the location opened in November 2019, only four months before the pandemic upended consumers’ lifestyles and shopping habits.

Transferring from a seven-year post in Kenosha, Wis., Glisch joined the Hales Corner store in March 2021. He got to work right away rebuilding the leadership team and creating a culture that was welcoming both internally and externally.  With that strong foundation, the store started to really click with shoppers, borne out in data showing that the location’s bottom-line contribution surged nearly 60% from 2021 to 2022 and EBITDA as a percentage of sales rose by 6.74% during that same pandemic-era time frame.

Other impressive numbers exemplify how his and others’ foresight and hard work paid off in attracting and retaining a shopper base. On a year-over-year basis, basket size increased by $0.28 per transaction, while the store was able to reduce shrink by 2.38% during his first year as store director. Even during the uncharacteristically tight labor market in 2022, he was able to keep labor expenses flat.

That achievement was noteworthy not just because of the higher labor percentage of sales but because the store remained well-staffed. Among other attributes as a leader, Glisch's positive attitude and frequent one-on-one interactions help boost morale and empower associates to meet their goals and best serve guests.

To him, transparency is key to performance, as he devotes certain in-store leadership meetings to reviewing store numbers and explaining the reasons behind each goal. His openness extends to causes that the store supports, as he asks his store team for input on the charities and events that are meaningful to them and then uses the results to select impactful community outreach programs.

His methods are inspirational to and beyond the store’s employees. He teaches collaborative leadership to fellow store leaders as part of a select group of trainers at Skogen’s Festival Foods. Glisch also brings some fun to the role and to the store he directs. He led the launch of “Spring in Winter”, an-in-store celebration featuring colors and images of spring during the doldrums of winter. He’s also known for his creativity with the retailer’s in-store promotions, such as its annual Cookie Fest.

For his balance of creativity and focused determination, Glisch earned other Festy’s Bestys awards in 2023. In fact, he and his team took home seven honors at this year’s competition -- the most of any Festival Foods store.

“Greg creates an atmosphere of helpfulness, comfort and fun that makes guests want to come back -- and that associates love.”