Category A: (1-25 Stores), Finalist

Wander Rezende

Roche Bros. Supermarkets
Mashpee, MA

The Roche Bros. store in Mashpee, Mass. gets especially busy in the summertime, given its location in the vacation hamlet of Cape Cod. When visitors come to the store, they’re likely to encounter store director Wander Rezende, who epitomizes engagement by working alongside associates, sharing recommendations with shoppers and continually eyeing the store for improvements.

This attentiveness, even at the most heightened of times, extends to all aspects of his role and dates back to his start as a dishwasher at a Roche Bros. location. Rezende has taken what he’s learned at every level of the grocery business and applied it for the betterment of the operation, whether it’s ensuring spotless surroundings or opening a store for the first time.

He’s gotten quite adept at store openings, in fact. He has opened five stores during his tenure at Roche Bros., including four smaller-format Brothers Marketplace locations and, his latest assignment, the Mashpee store. In only his first year at the helm, the Cape Cod store attracted more than 725,000 shoppers and experienced a million-dollar sales lift over the previous year. Under Rezende’s leadership, the Mashpee store met and exceeded KPIs and maintained a high overall customer satisfaction score of 80 percent.

In addition to keeping both year-round and vacationing shoppers happy, Rezende's knack for engagement extends to his relationships with employees. A big believer in mentorship, he has coached several assistant store managers during the store opening process and supported their own path to management. Fostering inclusiveness, he teams up with a program that helps adults with disabilities work in local businesses like Roche Bros. and also welcomed more than two dozen international associates on J-1 visas from Malaysia. On an everyday basis, he customarily starts each shift by greeting associates at his store in Mashpee, gleaning ideas for improvement and innovation via small talk and direct feedback.

This leader also thinks beyond the four walls of his store to connect with others. Rezende partners with nearby farmers to provide fresh, local produce and native flowers, strong selling points during the peak traffic time of summer. He supports the community in a variety of ways, such as spearheading donation efforts for area food banks and veterans organizations and providing hot meals to military personnel who travel to the Cape Cod area for a training event. Even as he’s inherently outward facing, Rezende is also a stickler for detail. During his inaugural year at his current location, he maintained payroll expenses while boosting operating profits and improved sales per labor hour from $139 to $186.

The fact that the store puts up strong numbers throughout the year is a testament to Rezende’s skills as a director. In fact, one of this location's most popular programs is its “Football, Food and Fun” program that picks up right after the busy summer ends and demonstrates that he is, indeed, a leader for all seasons.

“Wander is one of Roche Bros.’ great success stories, with his multicultural experiences, and charisma has made him a natural leader.”