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2024 Star Women in Grocery Award Winner Tara Berger (Q&A)

Store-Level Star
2024 star women
Tara Berger

Tara Berger

Store Manager
Nature’s Fare Markets, Vernon, B.C.

How did you get your start in the grocery business?

Throughout high school, I worked at Cooper’s Foods in Lake Country, B.C. in both the deli and bakery departments. I had frequented the Nature’s Fare in Kelowna and loved the people and the atmosphere. In 2004, I applied and started my career working in the bistro and on cash. Soon after, I was promoted to bistro manager and then went on to be the corporate bistro manager. In 2018, I took on the role of assistant manager at our Vernon location and by the end of that year, I became the store manager.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? 

Being able to accept and let go of the things that are outside of my control and put more focus on the areas where I can make a positive influence. During the pandemic, I think all of us had worries about the uncertainty of what our futures would look like. Disguised in this challenge was an opportunity to lean in and invest in the community mindset of our team. I was able to be there for my team and give them comfort, support and guidance in a time where everything in the world seemed uncertain.

As Nature’s Fare has continued to grow and expand, I led my team through a nine-phase renovation. Renovating an older building came with its challenges, and I was able to flex my problem-solving skills on more than one occasion. We created completely new avenues not only for our store, but our company. New processes all come with learning curves and I empower my team to problem solve, brainstorm and come along for the journey in striving for excellence.

What keeps you motivated at work? 

People. One-hundred per cent, my team and my customers are my motivation every single day. We are a community that supports each other, laughs with each other, comforts each other and works hard for each other as we grow ourselves and our business. 

What is your best quality? 

My ability to put myself in the shoes of others. I truly believe this allows you to set healthy boundaries with your team and at the same time lead with empathy. I strive to create safe spaces for my team and work to meet people where they are on their development journey. 

Tell us about how you give back to the community and why it’s important to you. 

Being involved in my community has always been a priority for me. We can make such an impact by giving back to those who support us. At Nature’s Fare, it’s one of our core values and I feel, as a leader, I have a responsibility to reach out and discover the needs of our community and find a way to meet those needs. Together we are able to find those in need and help in whatever way we can. Over the years, I have sat on the board for the Oyama Community Club and currently hold a spot with the Downtown Vernon Association.  

What is a fun fact about you? 

I went to college to become an equine massage therapist. I started riding horses at the age of three and fell in love with it. If I wasn’t going to school or working, you could find me at the barn. Some of my fondest memories are competing in the Lower Mainland and Alberta. After high school, I took the two-year program and practiced on friend’s horses, but never pursued it further.

Click here for the full list of 2024 Star Women in Grocery award winners.

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