Raymond Stockard_150

Category B: (26-199 Stores), Finalist

Raymond Stockard

K-VA-T Food Stores d/b/a Food City
Kingsport, TN

Sure, he has “stock” in his name, but a career in grocery was more than just fate for Raymond Stockard. Since starting at K-VA-T Food Stores 29 years ago, he has diligently moved up to a store manager role in which he has proven to be an effective steward.

His tenacity, depth and breadth of experience at K-VA-T/Food City have enabled Stockard to lead the company in sales volume. Overall sales at his store (without fuel) climbed 14.6% from the pre-pandemic year of 2019 to 2021, with growth coming from every department. Net profits were up by 52.5%. In addition to strong financials, consumer-oriented metrics are also high for the location he manages, including mystery shopping scores and consumer feedback that is well above district and company averages.

In his leadership position, Stockard shares his keen knowledge and experience in many areas of store operations with others on their own path. He kicks off daily huddles, mentors many associates and holds smaller meeting on specific issues to enhance the store, all of which helps his team stay informed and recognized. Many of his mentees have advanced to senior leadership positions.

The sense of teamwork and spirit of collaboration that Stockard demonstrates proved particularly helpful during the store’s recent remodel. The large-scale project included new décor, the addition of a Starbucks Café and expanded foodservice offerings. The changes went smoothly and were well received—even at a time when foodservice sales were stalling in many channels and regions during the pandemic, his store set several new company foodservice sales records.

As it has become an attraction for its latest features and amenities, the store is a community hub for events that Stockard enjoys organizing. His colleagues report that he is continually thinking about and planning for the next event and challenges them to do the same. Not surprising for someone who likes events, he does it up big for the holidays; in addition to creating a fun-filled atmosphere, Stockard serves as chairman for the region’s Santa Train project that distributes candy, toys, good and gifts to those in need in Southern Appalachia. His team received a service award from the Santa Train program for their efforts to maintain the tradition during the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting drive through events at various locations.

Whether keeping the train moving for a holiday charity program or keeping everyone on the rails in his store, Stockard is right where he’s needed – and worked hard to be.

“Although he has the highest staff count within his district, Raymond prides himself on knowing each member of his team on a personal level. He genuinely cares about his associates and is invested in their personal and professional growth.”