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

Kevin Perino

ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.
West Fall, PA

If all good things must come to an end, an effective leader can begin an equal or better thing. A 35-year grocery industry veteran, Kevin Perino, proved that sentiment true when he oversaw the closing of a beloved store and spearheaded the opening of its nearby replacement.

After 50 years in the town of Montague, N.J., ShopRite relocated its store just across the state line to a new 73,000-square-foot building in Matamoras, Pa. As if that transition wasn’t enough, the project was done during the pandemic in late 2021 with a one-day window in closing and opening.

All that upheaval didn’t faze store manager Perino, who ended up leading one of the company's most successful store location conversions. That success is borne out in the performance numbers, as the new ShopRite exceeded budgeted sales by 11.62%, beat net income budget by .97%, and increased customer count by 13.1 percent.

Much effort went into the task of shifting a store location and creating a familiar yet new identity in a different, albeit close-by, community. By meticulously planning, communicating and following through – three tenets of Perino’s leadership style – the store’s team made the transition and rolled out new products and features.

One of those new features was a wine and beer shop, the first in ShopRite’s group of 36 stores. Ahead of the opening, Perino worked across several key business areas to ensure that the store complied with state laws. Once up and running, the store recorded incremental sales lifts and positive shopper experiences.

The location also seamlessly moved to support both traditional and new community outreach efforts. Among other programs, the Matamoras store raised funds to address food insecurities, support local a children’s hospital and provide for local veterans support groups.

Central to the success of the relocation was team camaraderie and dedication. According to the company’s bi-annual associate engagement survey, this store logged an eight-point increase that was tied to Perino’s action planning process and recognition programs. This store manager has also fueled employee engagement through both personal mentorship and the use of an Axonify digital learning platform that regularly provides important business updates and team encouragement. In fact, the regular updates have come to be affectionately known as “KP in 463” and the series is viewed as a best practice within the ShopRite organization.

Perino is held up as a company example in other ways, too. He has become a peer mentor in weekly district meetings, where he creates topics or objective for store managers to complete. Once those are turned in, he analyzes the findings and gleans best practices, which has led to more effective huddles, new talent onboarding and fruitful associate engagement meetings. While his longevity in the industry helped him navigate the recent relocation and all that went with it, Perino’s innate passion for food retailing is a leadership attribute that sets him apart wherever he – or his store – may be.

“Kevin’s passion for the supermarket business inspires store associates to explore a career in the retail industry and challenges his peers by developing impactful best practices.”