Roman Perez Store Manager Award Finalist

Category B: (26-199 Stores), Finalist

Roman Perez

The Fresh Market, Inc.
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

There are many kinds of statistics that support strong store management, and although Roman Perez has hit important metrics for sales and EBITDA, the fact that his store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida is under the company turnover goal by double digits is arguably the most impressive. Employees stay at the store because of his leadership and, more importantly, turn in their best performances to make the location a standout.

Roman is credited with creating an environment for opportunity by coaching, training, uplifting associates and encouraging them to uplift each other. In his weekly team meetings, Roman recognizes individual department managers for their respective accomplishments, solicits suggestions from employees and discusses the previous week’s performances and ways to make any needed improvements. It is a culture in which engaged employees want to win and work hard to make the location the number one store in the retailer’s southern region.

To that end, this store is faring well. The location led sales growth for the company last year and remains well-staffed, notable achievements in an often-turbulent pricing and labor market. Roman is garnering accolades for his effectiveness in lifting his crew and lifting store sales. He received The President’s Club award from The Fresh Market last year and was a runner-up for the retailer's Founder Award.

With nearly four decades of experience in the grocery industry, this manager continues to find new paths to growth. Recently, he was the first store manager in the chain to introduce a fresh orange juice program and continues to lead sales in this area. He also played a key role in developing baristas who work at the coffee roaster within his store.

Roman’s tenure in this business has also taught him the importance of giving back. He aids the community in many ways, such as working with local food banks to deliver hunger relief. Supporting local businesses and makers is a priority for Roman, too, as he partners with nearby farmers to provide local herbs, collaborates with area nurseries to supply native plants and teams with vendors near the store to add their unique products to the store’s assortment.

Of course, the culture of thoughtfulness extends to The Fresh Market shoppers as well. He is said to treat guests like family, often calling them by name and taking the time to get to know new customers. Roman has also created a community hub for patrons through a center store restaurant that serves up coffee and hot meals made in-store. Here, too, he will frequently jump in to help his team during busy times, working shoulder to shoulder with them and, along the way, strengthening the pivotal employee-manager bond.