Mike Martin, produce manager at the Tops in Manlius, is one of 25 award recipients of this year’s 2018 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. (submitted photo)
Mike Martin, produce manager for the Manlius Tops Friendly Markets location, is one of 25 award recipients of this year’s 2018 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. The award recognizes produce managers working every day on the front line to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Produce managers are the face of our industry to the consumer. Their creative merchandising and positive approach to customer service directly correlates to the growth of sales and ultimately consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.
Now in its 14th year of recognizing exceptional retail producers, United Fresh recognizes a group of 25 produce managers who represent supermarket banners, commissaries and independent retail stores from 14 different states and two Canadian provinces. The winners will be the honored guests at the United Fresh 2018 convention, June 25-27 in Chicago.
In conjunction with the 2018 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Award Program, United Fresh and the Program Sponsor Dole Food Company held an in-store event to honor Martin prior to the convention. Dole Food Company presented Martin with a custom sign, embroidered apron in addition to other assorted gifts at a presentation recognizing his accomplishments.
Sponsored by Dole Food Company, the program pays special recognition to produce managers working every day on the front line to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program began in 2005, nearly 300 retail produce managers, representing more than 100 different retail banners, have been honored for their contributions to the industry.
Martin has worked for Tops for the past four years and has served in the role as produce manager at the Manlius location for the past two years. Prior to his career at Tops, Martin was employed by C&S Wholesale, as a senior account executive, in Boston, Mass. Martin’s career in the produce industry stretches over 30 years holding titles including produce manager, produce supervisor and produce category manager.
“Mike set the bar high right from the very start,” said Jeff Cady, director for TOPS Produce/Floral. “When he took over the department in 2016 the produce penetration was around 13 percent. Currently, the penetration is 14.30 percent. Mike is up against his own numbers and continues to increase sales in a very competitive market. TOPS has so much confidence in his abilities that he was asked to participate in an advisory committee representing a voice for all produce managers.”
Martin also is committed to the local community, actively engaged in events like Camp Healing Hearts, Taste of Manlius, Wellness Fair at Stickley & Audi, The Rescue Mission of Syracuse, Determination Center of Syracuse and local school store tours, just to name a few.
“Mike has also excelled at customer service,” said TOPS store manager, Joe Rizzo. “Not a day will pass without a customer complimenting Mike, his team, and his department. Mike understands the importance of great leadership and leads by setting the example. The produce team is always enthusiastic and motivated to hit their sales goals.”
The winners of the 2018 United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Nominations were evaluated on several criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to customer satisfaction.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.