Reaching for the stars

National Retail Manager of the Year, Padraig Doran of Pettitt’s Supervalu, St Aidan’s Shopping Centre, Wexford
National Retail Manager of the Year, Padraig Doran of Pettitt’s Supervalu, St Aidan’s Shopping Centre, Wexford

In their fourth year, the ShelfLife GRAM Awards once again reach out to the rising stars in Irish grocery retail management to acknowledge their high standards of excellence



16 August 2009

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For the fourth consecutive year the ShelfLife GRAMs (Grocery Retail Awards in Management) paid tribute to the talent and dedication of the industry’s top managers. All good retailers acknowledge that the success of their stores is largely a measure of the hard work and ability of their key people, and so we recognise the vitally important contribution of this group in driving the highly advanced industry that exists in Ireland today.

This year the grocery retail sector has come under immense pressure in the toughest economic conditions seen for 80 years. It is in these times, far more than in boom years, that a dedicated manager with a passion for retail is an essential asset to any business. And it is also in these challenging times that talented individuals can really appreciate the exciting career path that this industry has to offer.

Speaking at the GRAMs in Dun Laoghaire’s Royal Marine Hotel on 16 July, ShelfLife publisher John McDonald said: “By publicly recognising excellence in grocery retail management, we reward the hard work of those here today, we highlight the fact that in this industry too, there are stars, and we illustrate the fact that there is career path in grocery retailing that has room for very high achievers.”

McDonald praised the high standards of all those put forward for the competition this year, commending Ireland’s top managers as “well rounded individuals, with copious amounts of energy, enthusiasm for hard work and great insight into the competitive market.” In addition, McDonald acknowledged the well-documented long hours put in by grocery retail managers and “their level of responsibility for brand, money, margin, property, customers and employees.”


 National Retail Manager of the Year

This year’s overall winner, Padraig Doran, manager of Pettitt’s Supervalu, St.Aidan’s, Wexford, commented that it is attention to detail that is most important in the daily running of a retail operation: “Retail is detail,” he told ShelfLife after his win, and knowing what your customers really want.

“Our customers come here for good customer service and also for good special offers, so you really have to know what your customers are coming for and push that to the last. Whatever they’re coming to your place for, push it and get as much out of it as possible. We push it the old Superquinn way: we have the lads behind the check-outs packing, we have the management on the shop floor, and the customers know the managers.”

Two of Doran’s managers at Pettitt’s were also commended on the night, with Trudy Conway winning Fruit and Veg Manager of the Year, and David Nolan named as runner-up for Best Off-licence Manager. A proud Doran came to the stage to photograph his team members’ big moments on the night, a reflection of his supportive, personable style.

In terms of advice to those looking to make a career in retail, Doran urged: “Don’t give up on it. And try and get experience in as many departments as possible. I started off with Caulfields and my job was to empty the bins and sweep the floor. So just don’t give up.”

More to the point, Doran added: “You have to like mixing with people. It is a people industry and you have to be good with them. You have to treat your customers with respect and know that they’re the boss. And at the end of the day, know that the customers pay your wages. If they don’t come into the shop you don’t have a job, so they’re the important people to look after.

“I always tell staff, if I ask them to do something and a customer asks them to do something, ignore me and do what the customer asked. It’s more about keeping the customer happy than keeping the boss happy. That’s what we build our business on.”

Symbol group Manager of the Year stores 3000–6000 sq ft

Having begun his career packing bags and working his way up in Dunnes, Costcutter and Centra, Mark Byrne is now manager of Centra, Rushbrook in Cobh for over a year. He believes that 80% of all shopping choices arise subconsciously and, in today’s especially challenging retail environment, he uses innovative ideas to drive footfall and maximise spend, like varied special offers on impulse items. In addition, he has created value-enhancing initiatives, such as the collaboration with a local butcher, to drive sales.

















Symbol Group Manager of the Year stores under 3000 sq ft

Laura Campbell has a degree in International Business and during her final year she took a job with Tobin’s Gala, leading her by chance to the bright career she enjoys today. Now manager of the busy store a few years on, she overseas 40 staff, and led the team to win Store of the Year on two occasions, in 2005 and 2007. Campbell focuses strongly on watching competitors and keeping the store’s prices keen, which is an especially important role for a border county business.

























Best Multiple Manager 2009

Brougham has been manager of Superquinn in Knocklyon since 2005 and in this time has overseen a very successful revamp. Having the highest average mystery shopper result in the group, he believes in getting results. Brougham spent two years in Superquinn, Sutton, as senior duty manager and then assistant store manager, and was subsequently moved to Superquinn, Naas, as a manager, before his Knocklyon post.

He now manages 160 staff and although the current climate sees many retailers letting go emplyees, Brougham believes that reducing staff means customers will suffer. Undeterred by the current challenging outlook, he remains ambitious and says that he never loses sight of his goals. 














Cash and Carry Manager of the Year

Lee has worked in Musgrave’s Robinhood cash and carry for the past 21 years. Overseeing 165 employees and a €93 million operation with a customer base of 17,000, he says reinvention is a must to keep customers coming back. Lee also oversaw the recent €1.5 million revamp implementing the group’s new Marketplace concept. 

























Off-licence Manager of the Year

Having first developed a great interest in wine during a course at Ballymaloe Cookery School, Ann Moran went on to obtain the highly prised WSET diploma in wine and spirits. She has been manager of Gilbey’s of Malahide for nine years now and has seen her store win NOffLA Off-licence of the Year in 2005 and 2008. Bringing a strong point of difference to her store, and adding much value for local customers, Moran holds her own wine courses and tastings in-store, and this autumn plans to run a beer course also.
























Customer Service Manager of the Year

Fiona McGee is the customer service manager and assistant general manager of Smyth’s Supervalu in Navan. She has worked within the Supervalu group for 11 years and was part of the winning Store of the Year team. Being very proactive in her approach to customer services, many of the stores most successful projects have been implemented by McGee.

There is a strong focus on training in the store and one of her latest projects was in training checkout staff to use ‘the five golden rules’ to ensure the customer leaves the store thoroughly satisfied. McGee says she loves to see people developing in new roles and would like to focus on life coaching in the future. 



















Fruit and Veg Manager of the Year

Although hard to believe, Trudy Conway has worked in Pettitt’s Supervalu for 17 years. Her successful fruit and veg department accounts for 11% of turnover, thanks to her talent for visual merchandising, and she has also introduced a health food section to drive sales.















Best Team Performance Award 2009

Described as “a fantastic example of a rural convenience store” Daybreak in Roundfort has 14 dedicated staff, and in repeat store audits the store continues to attain top marks in terms of best practice, customer service and legislative compliance.



























Best deli/food-to-go manager

Being a qualified chef and catering manager is a huge benefit to Gillan in managing the deli in Griffin’s Londis, O’ Connell Street. He was awarded the Sapphire Award in the Excellence Ireland Awards and is currently aiming to achieve 0% waste in his department. 
























Forecourt Manager of the Year

With a background in hospitality prior to running Mooney’s Londis/Maxol, Murphy has ample experience dealing with the public. Also a chef and former deli manager, Mooney won the Retail Excellence Award with Londis in 2008.



























GRAM Award winners 2009

National Retail Manager of the Year 2009
Padraig Doran, Pettitt’s Supervalu, St Aidan’s SC, Wexford

Symbol Group Manager of the Year, stores over 6000 sq ft
Padraig Doran, Pettitt’s Supervalu, St Aidan’s SC, Wexford

Niall Shanaghy, Quish’s Supervalu, Tramore, Co Waterford
Peter Byrne, Smyth’s Supervalu, Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath
David Tarrant, Quish’s Supervalu, Ballincollig, Cork

Symbol Group Manager of the Year, stores
3,000 – 6,000 sq ft

Mark Byrne, Centra Rushbrooke Links, Cobh, Co Cork

Colm Donnellan, Londis, Kinsale, Co Cork
Paul Miller, Londis Ballsgrove, Drogheda, Co Louth
Graham Price, Spar, Brackenstown, Swords, Co Dublin

Symbol Group Manager of the Year, stores less than 3,000 sq ft
Laura Campbell, Gala/Topaz, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Trevor Kearns, Londis, Sandyford, Dublin 18
Jim O’Brien, Spar, Barrack Street, Waterford
Paula Conneely, Centra, Moycullen, Galway

Multiple Supermarket Manager of the Year
Ken Brougham, Superquinn, Knocklyon, Dublin 16

Gerry Finglas, Dunnes Stores, Cornelscourt, Co Dublin

Cash and Carry Manager of the Year
Matt Lee, Marketplace, Robinhood, Dublin 22

Jacquie Conlon, Value Centre, Sligo
Kieran Barron, Value Centre, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Off-Licence Manager of the Year
Ann Moran, Gibney’s of Malahide, Co Dublin

David Nolan, Pettitt’s Supervalu, St. Aidan’s Shopping Centre, Wexford

Customer Service Manager of the Year
Fiona McGee, Smyth’s Supervalu, Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath

Alison Rice, Centra Crosshaven, Co Cork

Fruit and Veg Manager of the Year
Trudy Conway, Pettitt’s Supervalu, St. Aidan’s, Wexford

Laura Healy, Centra Tower, Blarney, Cork

Best Team Performance Award 2009
Daybreak team, Roundfort, Hollymount, Co Mayo

Eurospar team, Skerries Point Shopping Centre, Co Dublin
Spar team, Parkwest, Dublin 12

Delicatessen/Food-to-Go Manager of the Year
Mark Gillian, Griffin’s Londis, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

Suki Wong, Mulhall’s Londis Plus, Portlaoise, Co Laois

Forecourt Manager of the Year
Helen Murphy, Mooney’s Londis/Maxol, Waterford

Malachy Gorman, Topaz, Newcastle, Galway
Ger Cleary, Topaz, Glasnevin, Dublin 9




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