GRAM Awards 2012

Pearl Clarke, managing director, PostPoint and David Vaz, circulation manager, Irish Daily Mail, presents the National Manager of the Year Award to Paddy O’Neill, of Superquinn, Knocklyon, at the ShelfLife GRAM Awards 2012
Pearl Clarke, managing director, PostPoint and David Vaz, circulation manager, Irish Daily Mail, presents the National Manager of the Year Award to Paddy O’Neill, of Superquinn, Knocklyon, at the ShelfLife GRAM Awards 2012

Top retail managers celebrated at gala event



12 July 2012

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The seventh annual ShelfLife Grocery Retail Awards in Management were held in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin on 31 May and there was a wonderful representation from across the trade in attendance. Sports fans were delighted to hear rugby pundit Brent Pope recount various stories and anecdotes from his career as he took to the stage as MC for the night. 


The GRAMs, sponsored by The Irish Daily Mail and PostPoint, is the first and only national management awards scheme devoted exclusively to recognising the best managers in the Irish retail, wholesale and off-licence sectors.

In organising the awards, ShelfLife in conjunction with Excel Recruitment set down a clear list of objectives. These were to acknowledge and reward excellence in all sectors of the Irish grocery market; to upgrade the standard of customer service and to increase the service competitiveness of Ireland’s retail industry through excellence in management; and to set role models for their retail colleagues, thus motivating and promoting the importance of quality management within the Irish retail grocery industry.

The prize of National Retail Manager of the Year was awarded to Paddy O’Neill from Superquinn in Knocklyon, Co Dublin. There were many other winners and finalists on the night which are documented over the next few pages. 

ShelfLife Grocery Retail Award in Management Winner 2012


Due to his outstanding management style, his ability to juggle the responsibility of driving his large staff to deliver ultimate levels of quality, service and cleanliness to his customers while keeping those same staff motivated and always smiling makes Paddy O’Neill a unique manager and the ShelfLife GRAM winner for 2012. 


In next month’s issue there will be a two page special on our winner where he will explain what it’s like to be named as the top retail manager in the country and offer some top tips on the best ways to manage your staff. 


People’s Choice Award 2012


Liam Ryan of SuperValu Glanmire was the winner of the People’s Choice award. This award recognises an individual who has been chosen by a member of their community for going that extra mile in terms of customer service or dedication to their local community. Because of his inspiration, initiative, drive and commitment to the local business community, Ryan has inspired an entire community to work together to retain and grow local jobs. 











Fruit & Veg Manager of the Year 2012


John O’Keefe of Hurley’s SuperValu, Midleton, Co. Cork, was named as the Fruit and Veg Manager of the Year 2012. 


Fruit and veg is the backbone of any supermarket, and this year’s winner has proven that participation can be grown and margin can be maintained, even with fierce competition from competitors Tesco, Lidl and Aldi. This manager, with a team of seven, highlights value for money and has gained a wealth of experience over two decades in this department.


He develops staff by encouraging them to be proactive about initiating interaction with customers and places a huge focus on customer service skills and product knowledge.   




Cash and Carry Manager of the Year 2012


Brian Staunton of Musgrave Cash and Carry in Ballymun, Dublin, was named as the Cash and Carry Manager of the Year 2012. The perception that the modern cash and carry business is under pressure through a dip in sales in the food service industry, alcohol discounting and cross-border shopping is not one that applies to this winner.  With high levels of service and an unparalleled range of product with 99.5% availability, all under one roof he has managed to not only create and retain loyal customers but to push footfall up by 12% this year. 








News Department Manager of the Year 2012


Newspapers have the shortest shelf life in the retail trade, and it takes a very special person to maintain range and display while keeping waste to a minimum and maximising margin. Natasha Hughes from Eurospar in Kildare town employs every trick available to tempt the customer. Since increasing the shelf space available to the all-important news category she has doubled the amount of children’s comics sold and increased newspaper and magazine sales. With an eye for an up-sell, large bars of chocolate sit beside the women’s magazines, and gardening equipment is merchandised with a fine display of gardening magazines. 






Off Licence Manager of the Year 2012


To win this particularly challenging and competitive category, the manager had to be passionate about wine, knowledgeable and qualified to advise customers and help them trade up. Mary Quinlan, Luke Moriarty’s SuperValu, Balbriggan, is somewhat of a visual display artist, with the ability to build eye-catching displays offering the best value in beers, wines and spirits.  Quinlan has made this store a destination store for world beers, fine wines and added value spirits. Amongst her many accolades this winner has also won Off Licence of the Year 2012.








Customer Service Manager of the Year 2012


Jackie Hughes, Pettitts Supervalu, St. Aidan’s, Wexford, was the winner of this very competitive sector. Despite having a Tesco Extra, large established Dunnes, Lidl and Aldi and all the symbol groups in a 1.1 mile radius, her store has consistently bucked the trend of sales decline to grow every year, this year notwithstanding. This growth is achieved through a collective team effort that is harnessed by exceptional customer service. To deliver this service staff are continuously trained rigorously and measured, rewarded and recognised for their contribution and most importantly, customers’ opinions are consistently sought. Hughes has introduced many innovative and outstanding ideas and believes that the customers are her boss and the staff need to look at the store through the eyes of a customer. 



Bakery Manager of the Year 2012


Bakery Manager of the Year, John King from Superquinn Lucan, Co Dublin, is running arguably the highest turnover scratch bakery in Ireland. King started his bakery apprenticeship when he was just 15 years old and almost 25 years later he is managing 12 staff and coming up with consistent innovation across the bakery, confectionary and impulse categories. Growing margin, developing a unique range of artisan, healthy eating and a new celebration cake range, whilst always putting the customer experience at the foremost of everything he and his team do, has created a renowned destination department. 







Protein Manager of the Year 2012


Ireland’s reputation for meat is second to none and the protein department of a modern store has become the department that can set the store apart from the crowd, from the service behind the counter to the added value product available in store and the standards of food safety and hygiene. Winner David O’Neill manages an exceptional meat, fish and poultry offering. Through consistent hard work, some thinking outside the box and above all a real passion for what he does, he has managed to drive his category. With two fresh fish deliveries per day and a clever cook in foil prepared meal offering he has added sales, while educating customers and adding a really important staple to their diet. Implementing innovative category management to the prepack section off his own bat has helped the department outperform the store. 



Deli Food-to-Go Manager of the Year 2012


Marian McGarrigle, the winner of the Deli Food-to-Go Manager of the Year 2012 runs her department with a smile on her face, a spreadsheet in one hand and the food safety hand-book in the other. This immensely capable food services professional pays keen attention to the margin and volumes of all of her busy deli counter’s products while coaching and mentoring her staff on quality, display, customer service and hygiene using materials that she has prepared herself. 





Best team performance of the Year Award

The team from Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, was picked as the winner of the Best Team Performance due to their hallmark “can do” attitude to everything! This team has shown tremendous innovation, drive and passion founded on a belief in the power of people, both within the company and the wider community. The winners have been together as a unit for over 25 years and they have used that familiarity to bond as a team, producing a string of innovations. Not only have they assimilated new people into their culture of teamwork and collaboration, they have found the time to reach out into the community. The team at Scally’s are exemplary in their cross-departmental planning, use of team meetings and clustering around mutual goals – especially 100% customer service, as evidenced by their numerous awards in that category. Indeed, they are recipients of previous GRAM awards and are frequent contenders for Store of the Year.  


Forecourt Manager of the Year 2012


Noel Darcy of Topaz Cashel, Co Tipperary, was chosen as the Forecourt Manager of the Year 2012 because he knows how to motivate his staff to operate this very busy forecourt and retail outlet, by listening to them and recognising and understanding their goals. He promotes loyalty to customers and delivers margin though a broader than standard deli, catering to business and leisure motorists as well as truck, drivers He is growing the business, and has ample opportunity with a 24 hour store of 4,000 square feet, 18 petrol pumps and thousands of customers daily.








Multiple Store Manager of a Supermarket (Under 10,000 sq ft)


Currently running a year-on-year growth of 20% with the lowest payroll cost in the company along with a 100% mystery shopper result, Derek McCloskey of Superquinn Rathgar was chosen to open and run his store from shell to store. Taking on this challenge, he used to his advantage, the fact that he could select his team and develop them from a blank canvas. His store has outperformed company expectations consistently. What makes this winner truly stand out from the crowd is the learning curve he had to take his team and company through from the opening of the business in the December snow of 2010, to learning how to effectively operate a dual entrance convenience store in a diverse and competitive environment, with a transient and fixed customer base. With a real passion for staff motivation, McCloskey has made Superquinn Rathgar a resounding success.




Multiple Store Manager of a Supermarket (Over 10.000 sq ft) 


Overall winner Paddy O’Neill was also the winner of this category. O’Neill has worked his way up the ranks of the business since joining as a trainee manager in 1996. From changing consumer shopping patterns, unfortunately ill-timed and costly revamps to the general economic situation, our winner has worked tirelessly to overcome all these challenges to run one of the finest supermarkets in Ireland. Focusing on the strengths of his massive fresh food offering, not just on the quality and size of the range, but on highlighting exceptionally well the value within the range, he has delivered a value message to challenge consumer perception. Managing and motivating 168 staff, a challenge in itself, he has driven his store to be a huge success for the company. 





Symbol Group Manager of the Year 2012 (Under 3,000 sq ft)


Managing a retail convenience store of 2,000 square feet, Patrick Farrell of Spar Cloghan Co. Offaly demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit that the judges found to be in abundance during the awards process, whether this is in a ‘can do’ attitude or through product innovation, Farrell has both in spades. He often goes beyond the call of duty like when he meets the local bread supplier on route to the store in the morning to ensure the customers have the freshest product when the store opens. He has built up a business that was closed for a year to a €2.5m turnover and has created the ultimate convenience offering under one roof with ATM, off licence, post office, hot ambient grocery, unique ice cream and a strong fuel offering serviced by ample parking, all under one roof. 





Symbol Group Manager of the Year (3,000-6,000 sq ft)


Claire Fahy of Caseys Centra, Co Galway, is a shining example of passion, energy, dedication and ambition in retail. Her energy level and enthusiasm for what she does is infectious. Opening and running a 4,000 square foot convenience store at the beginning of the recession, through her enthusiasm and determination, she has driven the business to success. Fahy believes that feedback from her staff is the best motivational tool at her disposal and has fostered an excellent upbeat atmosphere in the store by doing this. She was selected to speak about her learnings to 600 people at her company conference this year. 





Symbol Group Manager of the Year 2012 (Over 6,000 sq ft)


Ryan’s SuperValu Glanmire was named as SuperValu store of the year 2012. At the helm of this super store is Tom Higgins.  This exceptional manager has steered a path of growth for two consecutive years at this store following a substantial and disruptive refit. He manages by empowering his department heads to drive the business forward and has been innovative and raised the bar in terms of the customer retailing experience at every opportunity. It is not often that you hear of a store that has Lidl, Aldi, Dunnes, Tesco and a range of forecourts in its hinterland that has increased employment by more than 60%. 




GRAM 2012 award winners and finalists


National Retail Manager of the Year 2012


Paddy O’Neill, Superquinn Knocklyon, Dublin




Symbol Group Manager of the Year 2012 (0 to 3,000 Sq Ft)

Sponsored by Sum Ceart Bia

Winner: Patrick Farrell, SPAR Express, Cloghan, Co Offaly


Jim McCausland, Casey’s Centra, Roscommon

Ciaran McKenna, Centra, Moville, Co. Donegal

Adeel Butt, Bradely’s XL, East Wall, Dublin

Joanne Dennehy, Herlihy’s Centra, Millstreet, Co. Cork



Symbol Group Manager of the Year 2012 (3,000 to 6,000 Sq Ft)

Sponsored By Western Union

Winner: Claire Fahy, Centra, Wellpark, Galway


Serena Guihen, McCann’s Centra, Moycullen, Galway

Chris McVeigh, Casey’s Centra, Ballina, Co. Mayo

Damien Fallon, Cross’s Centra, Naas, Co. Kildare

Joanne Carroll, Stafford’s Fine Foods, Drogheda, Co Louth


Symbol Group Manager of the Year 2012 (larger 6,000+ sq ft)

Sponsored by Post Point

Winner: Tom Higgins, SuperValu, Glanmire, Cork


James Keegan, SuperValu, Clane, Co. Kildare

Noel O’Riordan, SuperValu, Douglas, Cork

Charlie Ferry, SuperValu, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal

John O Sullivan, Herlihy’s Centra, Fermoy Co Cork


Multiple Manager of the Year 2012 Stores (Under 10,000 sq ft)

Sponsored by Dale Farm


Winner: Derek McCloskey, Superquinn, Rathgar, Dublin 6




Antoinette Carney, Tesco Parnell Street, Dublin



Multiple Supermarket Manager Stores (Over 10,000 Sq Ft)

Sponsored by Dale Farm


Winner: Paddy O’Neill, Superquinn, Knocklyon, Dublin 16


Joe Duke, Dunnes Stores Douglas, Cork


John Dillon, Tesco, Killarney



Forecourt Manager of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by Nightline

Winner: Noel Darcy, Topaz, Cashel, Co. Tipperary


Ger Coughlan, Maxol/Mace, Carrigaline, Cork

Anna Majcher Amber Oil/Costcutter Express, Lisduggan, Waterford

Monika Florczyk, Topaz, Templeogue, Dublin 6W

Audrius Ciutys, Topaz, Kilmananogue, Co. Wicklow

Ruairi Kelly, Topaz/SPAR, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Brendan Bernes, Topaz, Kill, Co. Kildare



Off-Licence Manager of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by

Winner: Mary Quinlan, Moriarty’s SuperValu, Balbriggan, Co Dublin


Michelle Doyle, The Market, Stepaside, Co. Dublin

Lilian Twomey, SuperValu, Glanmire, Co. Cork

Killian Clarke, Superquinn, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Darren Hogan, Superquinn, Carlow

Joe Rock, Superquinn, Swords, Co. Dublin

Didier Segui, Hurley’s SuperValu, Midleton, Co. Cork


Cash & Carry Manager of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by Excel Recruitment

Winner: Brian Staunton, Musgrave, Marketplace, St Margarets’s Road, Dublin 1


Rory Gartlan, Value Centre, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan

James Fegan, Fegan’s Foodservice, North Road, Dublin



Best Team Performance of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by GM Marketing

Winner: Scally’s Supervalu Clonakilty, Co. Cork


Centra Ballina, Co. Mayo

Cross’s Centra Naas, Co. Kildare

Tobins Topaz, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Ryan’s SuperValu Glanmire, Cork

Hurley’s SuperValu, Midleton, Co. Cork


Fruit & Veg Manager of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by Excel Recruitment

Winner: John O’Keeffe, Hurley’s SuperValu, Midleton, Co Cork


Gerry Moore, Herlihy’s Centra, Fermoy, Co. Cork

Jennifer Murray, Moriarty’s SuperValu, Palmerstown, Dublin 15

Aine McGovern, Donohoe’s SuperValu, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim

Michael Keane, Superquinn, Swords, Co. Dublin

Eddie Landers, Superquinn, Castletroy, Limerick

Tomasz Miekina, Moriarty’s SuperValu, Skerries, Co. Dublin

Brian Daly, Moriarty’s SuperValu, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin


In-Store Bakery Manager of the Year 2012  

Sponsored by Cuisine de France

Winner: John King, Superquinn,  Lucan, Co Dublin


Jimmy Walsh, SuperValu, Glanmire, Cork

Cathereen  Fitzpatrick,  Moriarty’s SuperValu, Skerries, Co. Dublin


Delicatessen/ Food to Go Manager of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by

Winner: Marion McGarrigle, Tobin’s Topaz/SPAR, Letterkenny, Co Donegal


Cathryn Helly, Casey’s Centra, Ballina, Co. Mayo

Grainne Talty, Mace, Lissycasey, Co. Clare

Hayley Wasser, Superquinn, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8

Rachel Healy, O’Shea’s Gala, Tralee, Co. Kerry

Amanda King, Casey’s Centra, Wellpark, Galway


Customer Service Manager 2012 

Sponsored by European Recycling Platform

Winner: Jackie Hughes, Pettitt’s SuperValu, St Aidan’s Shopping Centre, Wexford


Rachel Stritch, Superquinn, Sundrive Road, Dublin 12.

Margaret Costello, Moriarty’s SuperValu, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

Francis Wright, Daybreak, Allenwood, Naas, Co Kildare

Sharon Land, Superquinn, Knocklyon, Dublin 16

Lorraine Kane, Superquinn, Rathborne, Dublin 15



Protein Manager of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by EIQA

Winner: David O’Neill, Superquinn, Blackrock, Co Dublin


David Beirne, Moriarty’s SuperValu, Palmerstown, Dublin 15

Pat Hogan, Hurley’s SuperValu, Midleton, Co. Cork


People’s Choice Award 2012 

Sponsored by the Irish Daily Mail

Winner: Liam Ryan, SuperValu Glanmire, Cork


Gerard Cushen, Dunnes Stores Henry Street, Dublin

Aidan Hennigan, Casey’s Centra, Castlebar, co. Mayo

Alex Cleland, “Clelands” Main Street, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois


************ ************

News Department Manager of the Year 2012 

Sponsored by the Irish Daily Mail

Winner: Natasha Hughes, Eurospar, Kildare


Sinead Brogan, Moriarty’s SuperValu, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

Debbie Doyle, Pettitt’s SuperValu, Gorey,  Co Wexford 

Carmel Dormer, Centra  Gort Road, Ennis Co Clare 

Emilia Balcer, Centra Mell, Drogheda, Co Louth 

Ann Jones, SuperValu Clane, Co Kildare 

Fiona Stack, SuperValu Midleton, Co Cork 






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