North American trade publication Progressive Grocer honored a local City Market store manager with a “Top Women in Grocery Award” for 2022.
Casey Piatt, who oversees the Aspen store in City Market, was honored for helping to increase in-store sales, diversify products on the shelf, build on a team program to improve customer service and volunteer on behalf of good causes, according to information listed on the Progressive Grocer website. She is one of more than 70 retail and grocery store managers in North America to receive the distinction from a list of hundreds of nominees.
Piatt and her family moved to Colorado in 2013. That was the same year she started working in the deli department at City Market in Craig and also for Starbucks in Craig and Steamboat Springs. At City Market, she rose to the position of assistant manager, a position she held for about six months before moving to the Roaring Fork Valley.
Piatt said his previous work experience was mostly in coffee. When she entered the world of grocery shopping, she never really expected to get to where she is today.
“The hardest part [was] probably changing,” she said, adding that 15 years ago, “I wouldn’t have guessed that I would have a career in groceries.”
Piatt has embraced an “open door” transformational leadership style at the Aspen store – she said she is committed to taking new approaches and looking at how things are done from different angles, seeing what works and where improvements can be made.
“I think this change can lead us to be better and better serve our customers and our business,” she said. “I promote pushing our leaders in this store out of their comfort zone and encouraging them to come up with original ideas on how to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. I think that’s maybe one of the things that sets me apart from others.
Piatt also attributes its success to listening to customers. Progressive Grocer noted its efforts to recognize the need for sections of the store with products beneficial and inclusive of the Hispanic community, changes to the product department flow, and the addition of other locally produced offerings.
“We have a completely diverse clientele,” she said. “So we have people who work here and eat lunch, we have people who are here visiting and want very high-end items. So one of the first things I wanted to do was find a balance between those and be able to meet everyone’s needs.
“I’ve been a very strong advocate for the brands that our customers want to be here,” continued Piatt. “And so we were able to ask for many changes that better serve our customers. Then the Aspen merchandise, I can’t believe it wasn’t here before. …It’s been great for customers who are here visiting and want to take a piece of Aspen home.
Piatt said the feedback she receives plays a role in the technology used to determine what goes on the shelves. To make these decisions, she and her colleagues look at data from certain sales periods, the intake-absorption ratio of products, trendy dietary trends and local community events.
Along with her leadership duties – and being a mother of four – she’s also dipped her toes into several different acts of community service with plans for many more.
Her efforts include serving as a consultant for the Pitkin County Eat Well for Less Panel; volunteering with the SADS Foundation, which focuses on raising awareness and funds for people with Arrhythmic Sudden Death Syndrome; and more recently, working with Lasagna Love, a non-profit organization that started during the COVID-19 pandemic to connect community members with families in need of food.
Her work with the SADS Foundation is particularly dear to her, as she and three of her four children have been diagnosed with heart problems. Learning more about her own family’s health, Piatt was inspired to spread information to the public and help the foundation raise funds for research and treatment options.
She said she was looking to get involved with Veterans Ski Week – Piatt’s husband is a veteran. And she continues to prepare her Bachelor of Commerce; graduation is scheduled for January 2023.
She said she and City Market are taking steps every day to improve customer and associate care. She hinted that big changes are coming to the company, starting next year.
“The community of Aspen has been my favorite community to be part of [and] one of the most welcoming communities in which I have worked. I really, really like it,” Piatt said.
Nominees for the “Top Women in Grocery Award” were nominated by colleagues and peers in one of three categories: Senior Executives, Rising Stars and Store Managers. The winners were announced in the June issue of Progressive Grocer magazine. An event to recognize them will be held in November in Orlando, Florida.