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The countdown is on for 10 outstanding grocery store managers who will vie for placement across four categories in Food Marketing Institute (FMI)'s 2016 Store Manager Awards competition.
Nominees are scored based on their ability to generate sales growth, provide exceptional customer service and/or community relations, execute in-store innovation and demonstrate team leadership.
All of the finalists will receive two complimentary registrations to FMI Connect 2016 and three nights of hotel accommodations in Chicago.
The winners of the 2016 Store Manager Awards will be revealed on Wednesday, June 22, during the 10:00 a.m. keynote address, Riding the Wave of Food Trends, featuring FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin and celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Robert Irvine.
After receiving 85 nominations, judges narrowed the field to the following 10 finalists:
Category A: (1-49 Stores)
- Alberto Ayala, Northgate Gonzalez Market, Los Angeles
- Larry Baxter, Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Boston
- Jon Wieser, Festival Foods, Green Bay, Wis.
Category B: (50-199 Stores)
- Patty Bianco, Tops Markets, LLC, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
- David Couture, Hannaford Supermarkets, Wells, Maine
- Piotr Soja, Big Y Foods, Inc., Northampton, Mass.
Category C: (200+ Stores)
- Josh Birmingham, The Kroger Co. Columbus Division, Holland, Ohio
- Jen Knesel, Hy-Vee, Inc., Winona, Minn.
- Angel Robles, Smart & Final Stores, LLC, Upland, Calif.
Category D: (International)
- Ted Pigeon, Overwaitea Food Group, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Four grand-prize winners representing each category will receive a $1,000 prize and a crystal award.
Before FMI Connect begins, the trade organization will host a Store Manager People’s Pick Award contest on FMI's Facebook page during the week of May 16.
All 10 finalists will be posted to the FMI Facebook page under the page tab Store Manager Awards starting at 9:00 a.m. EST on May 16. The finalist with the most votes by Friday, May 20 at 5:00 pm EST will receive a special award and $500 to celebrate their store employees.