Kerri Hunsley Store Manager Award Finalist

Category A: (1-25 Stores), Finalist

Kerri Hunsley

PCC Community Markets
Columbia City, Washington

Nothing against desks or offices, but manager Kerri Hunsley doesn’t hang out in those places very much. She spends about two-thirds of her typical day working on the floor at the PCC Community Market in Columbia City, Washington, interacting with customers and associates. That kind of immersion allows her to see what’s working, what’s not working and what might be missing at the location that is one of the highest-volume and heavily-trafficked PCC locations.

It’s through some of those conversations that she realized the store could do more to offer culturally appropriate items that resonate with residents of one of Seattle’s most diverse neighborhoods. Today, this co-op carries a variety of products that are not readily available at other nearby retailers, whether it’s oxtail, pig’s feet or a particular vegetable that is central to an ethnic cuisine.

Consistently on the lookout for items that align with shoppers’ tastes and backgrounds, Kerri often goes beyond the store to find them. Recently, she teamed up with a local nonprofit group, Peace Peloton, on a workshop supporting emerging brands. That incubation project resulted in products from Black-owned small businesses ending up on store shelves – and in customers’ carts at PCC’s 15 locations.

Kerri is also known for cultivating relationships among older shoppers who have been loyal members since PCC first opened. The personal connections she makes strengthen relationships that ultimately help the co-op succeed.

Interacting with and listening to shoppers also spurred her to create a standard that ensures there are never more than two people in a line. If lines start to form, she or an associate will open a new register, a small but meaningful move that ultimately engenders customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Such a people-centric mindset reflects her managerial style. Developed over 23 years in the industry, her approach to staff leadership centers on bringing out the best in her people to accomplish the most as a business. It’s been said that she positions herself as a supporting rather than a driving force.

By encouraging her team to take ownership in driving store promotions, for example, Kerri has helped fuel positive sales. The launch of a store operating committee with department coordinators has also resulted in greater efficiencies and tangible results, through open communications about sales, labor, hiring needs, ad items and forecasting, among other topics. Such openness is also encouraged in all-staff huddles.

The mirroring of values between Kerri and PCC has proven successful from a business standpoint, as her store is now the highest volume location in the organization with solid sales growth from 2022 to 2023. This location continues to add members, too, growing by 737 shoppers last year. Based on how much time she spends in the store, Kerri likely talked to many of them in person.