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A dedicated manager who is invested in the success of the store and the team is critical to a grocery store's success. Great managers have a hand in every level of your store’s performance, from on-boarding, training, and motivating team members to creating memorable customer experiences that build loyalty and, if that weren't enough, overseeing sales, operations, and financials.
“The point here is simple,” says IGA Coca-Cola Institute President Paulo Goelzer. “You want your operation to run smoothly? You want more satisfied customers and increased sales? Make sure your people are happy. What’s the key to making employees happy? Give them a great manager.”
This year's IGA Manager of the Year and the recipients of the Mentorship Manager and Community Investment Manager Awards are dedicated to helping their teams become better employees. In addition, they all have reported strong numbers for their stores and funneled resources back to their communities while managing strict budgets. Meet the winners and learn more about their management styles below, then hear them share their best practices and tactics for success at the Leadership Journey Workshop during the IGA Global Rally on March 9.
Scot Huntington | Camano Plaza Market IGA | Camano Island, Washington
A true leader to his employees and to the company, Scot’s management gets results: strategic buying means the store's gross margins lead the entire 7-store company, there's nearly no employee turnover (with many 20-year employees!), and the store has achieved annual sales growth for five straight years. Meeting the store's strict budget is often challenging given the number of events and donations he organizes for the community—including filling school buses with donated groceries for the holidays—but Scot manages to do so year after year while taking care of the community he serves.
Scot goes above and beyond investing in his employees' development in multiple ways. He uses an onboarding program he developed on company culture to instill a sense of ownership and autonomy among new employees from Day 1, then introduces ongoing online and classroom-based trainings from the IGA Coca-Cola Institute. From there, he makes sure his employees are prepared for the next step in their careers, helping them earn scholarships to Washington State grocery programs and encouraging them to participate in advanced college curricula like USC’s Food Industry Management Program. Congratulations and thank you to Scot for all of his hard work.
IGA Mentorship Manager Award
Elvira Bustillos | Hollister Super IGA #1 and #2 | Hollister, California
As manager of two Hollister Super IGA stores in California representing 80 employees, Elvira needed a proven method that works to train and motivate her team. Her solution? Leading by example. Elvira splits her time between the two stores, jumping in when needed in each department and working closely with each team member to get them up to speed and show them how to handle emerging situations within the store by being professional, courteous, and empathetic to the needs of the customers, employees, and vendors.
She gives employees ample training opportunities and works closely with them when they’re having trouble, providing small, measurable, and attainable goals as she works to build their confidence. And it's working: sales at her two stores are up between five to eight percent year over year under her management, and wages for her departments are up only two to three percent (even with minimum wage up $1/hour).
Harrison Casteel | The Goose Community Grocer | Langley, Washington
While it's true that every IGA manager ultimately assumes the role of community champion, Harrison takes it a step further at The Goose Community Grocer, a store owned by a local non-profit organization and operated by The Myers Group with the mission of providing dollars back to the community.
It may seem that working for a non-profit store would remove some of the managerial burden of meeting high sales quotas, but as it turns out, that's nowhere near the case. The more money the store brings in, the more that goes out to the community. And that means Harrison manages the store like any other for-profit grocery venture, only with a stronger focus on local offerings and more emphasis on events that raise money and draw shoppers into the store—like a customer appreciation day with food, bands, and giveaways that saw 400 customers attend and a 10 percent increase in sales the week of the event. The result is a store that provides significant contributions to the community each year. In return, grateful shoppers have become intensely loyal, allowing the store to consistently maintain double digit sales growth and a rising customer count.
Meet these and other outstanding IGA store managers at the Leadership Journey Workshop on March 9 at the 2020 IGA Global Rally.
The IGA room block at the Opryland Resort & Convention Center is sold out, but there are still rooms available at the reduced rate. Email IGA's Barbara Wiest at email@example.com and she will help you make arrangements.