By Meg Dickens
Food Lion Store Manager Keith Childress has spent a considerable amount of his life serving the community. Childress makes a point to acknowledge hard work and effort in the workplace. Now he is being recognized for his hard work. Food Lion corporate named Childress the 2019 Regional Manager of the Year. The region includes 23 stores over three states.
Childress, originally from Abingdon, VA, started retail work at age 18. He describes his starter job at Walmart as a learning experience. Childress joined the Food Lion family 25 years ago and became a manager just one year into his career. He credits his success to his employees.
“My people are the ones that make the store,” said Childress. “It’s not me. If you don’t have good people, you won’t last long.”
Childress explained that people are the key to retail. Experience teaches leaders how to treat employees and how to identify how to help them improve. Childress credits two of his former mentors as being strong influences in his life; his former managers Mike Hubbard and Jim Caudell. Hubbard taught Childress a lot, and Caudell was instrumental in his development.
Childress says he wishes he knew what he knew now back then. It takes a while to learn just how big of an influence leaders have on their employees. Mastering teamwork and respecting employees are the main stepping stones to customer service excellence.
Food Lion prides itself on being part of the community it serves. Just like Childress, the company considers the community the store is based in as family, friends, and neighbors. Childress takes it further, saying that the employees themselves are kind of like a family.
“We see each other more than we do our own families. We’re a team. If someone is down, we lift them up,” said Childress.
The higher levels of manager recognition start in February. Unfortunately, Childress did not make it to the next level. Food Lion operates more than 1,100 supermarkets with roughly 57,000 associates. This leads to quite the competition. Learn more about the Food Lion corporation at www.foodlion.com.