2023 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Stephanie Benbow (Q&A)

Store-Level Star
Stephanie Benbow
Stephanie Benbow

Stephanie Benbow

Store Manager, Save-On-Foods, Guildford Village, Surrey, B.C.

How did you get started in grocery?

I started right out of high school in my hometown of Sidney, B.C. I was hired as a coffee bar clerk at my local Save-On-Foods. After a year or so, my store manager asked if I was interested in pursuing a position in management. That’s when I began my time as a supervisor/closing manager at the age of 18.

What are some of your career highlights?

I was promoted to assistant store manager at the age of 22 to the busiest Save-On-Foods location on Vancouver Island, Fort & Foul Bay. I had the opportunity to help grow the store to the No. 1 store in gross sales in the company at the time. I then became one of the youngest store managers in the company when I was promoted to run the Save-On-Foods in Port Alberni, B.C., at the age of 25. I also recently won Canadian Grocer’s  2022 GenNext Award. I still owe a continuous thank you to my amazing store team. That award belongs to all of us! 

What is your proudest career moment?

I have a couple: Over the two years of operating the Port Alberni location, our team was able to get the store to become profitable for the first time ever, with double-digit sales increases. I had an engaged and passionate team that played a major part in that success. I am also extremely proud of our store opening in my current location, Guildford Village. A ton of work by our whole team went into making the store opening a huge success. To this day, we are still seeing tremendous growth and coming up to our two-year mark in August 2023, it is not slowing down! I have been focused on maintaining a high margin and continuing to improve shrink. My goal for the store is to become cashflow positive consistently. In 2022, we achieved this towards the end of the year. 

What is your leadership style?

My leadership style is a balance of being empathetic and valuing accountability. Leveraging my empathy to support my team has been critical, especially over the last three years through the COVID-19 pandemic. I value taking the time to get to know every team member in my stores. To this day, many of my close friends are past colleagues. I feel it’s important to take a humble approach to leadership and see great value in the opportunity my role gives me to learn from a diverse group of team members.

What is your best quality?

I think my best quality is my ability to listen. I have an open-door policy with my team and encourage them to talk with me anytime. It’s extremely important to hear our teams out and be supportive. Teams have been through a lot in the past few years and the retail environment can be challenging.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I am and avid music and sports fan! I play guitar and trombone, and sing. I am a huge hockey fan. My favourite team is the Colorado Avalanche, so I was super excited when they won the Stanley Cup last year!

What is a fun fact about you?

I used to play in a band after high school called Reverie. We have an album on Spotify called “Wide Awake.” Unfortunately, our careers caused us to grow apart, a bit, but I’ve always been really proud of that!

Click here for the full list of 2023 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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