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How Do I Become a Grocery Store Manager?

Many grocery store managers rise through the ranks after working in different areas of the store such as a produce manager.
Meat department at a grocery store.
A grocery store manager might have to handle the bookkeeping.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are many ways to become a grocery store manager, but this variance usually takes into account that people will have either formally or informally acquired specific skills. It’s easy to think of all the things that a store manager might have to do. He or she could be responsible for staffing the store, bookkeeping, purchasing, payroll, merchandising, and many other things. What isn’t done directly by the grocery store manager could be delegated to employees, but if the manager doesn’t know how to do things properly, it’s not likely that a store will run smoothly.

One way become a grocery store manager is to move up into the job. Some managers can recount how they began life doing displays, bagging groceries, or working as checkers or cashiers. Through persistent effort and learning the business with each incremental step, these managers eventually learned how to run a store successfully. Their professionalism impressed others into giving them promotions, and eventually they earned jobs to run the store, or they took their experience elsewhere to become a store manager.

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Moving up can be challenging, and it take years to accomplish. Another path is to get a formal business education to learn all that you need to know about running a grocery store. You might get a bachelor’s degree in business management with focus on retail management. Even a business degree in another field might be parlayed into eventual store management with a few years’ of experience. Some people work part time in grocery stores in lower level positions while they attend school, so they can claim both grocery experience and education needed to successfully manage.

The most expensive way to become a grocery store manager is to buy a grocery store and manage it. This may or may not work and depends on how well you understand the work going into this endeavor. Some owner/managers are highly successful, and have the good sense to surround themselves with knowledgeable staff who can teach them any aspects of the business they don’t understand. Others may underestimate the work level and may not find the success they hope for.

An alternate plan is to move from one business management area into other. There’s often an easy marriage between the grocery business and other retail businesses like clothing. People who’ve managed clothing stores and have education or experience may easily adapt to work as a grocery store manager. On the other hand, this jump isn’t always easy to make since store management positions may specify a certain amount of grocery experience.

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Discuss this Article

sunshine31
Post 3

@Latte31 - I agree with you to a degree but if a grocery store closes itself off to outside influences they could lose out on some new and creative ways of doing things that can only come from someone with a fresh perspective.

People from the outside see things differently and can really provide valuable insight. They can also draw from their experiences in other stores and promote a best practices set of ideas that can improve the productivity and overall revenue for the grocery store.

It will be hard for someone with a college degree to work their way up at a grocery store because most of these people feel that they paid their dues by earning the degree in the first place.

latte31
Post 2

@Mutsy - Those are really long hours. Most of the grocery store managers that I know have worked their way up through the ranks. I think that with grocery stores your experience is more important than your degree especially in a company that promotes from within.

This is a specialized business that is not for everyone and many of these companies find that it is best left to people that know the industry well. This also lowers the turnover because the people that generally work in this business know what to expect when they enter it.

I think it is smart and it builds employee morale because employees that work hard can see a future with the company and have something to look forward to. It also shows that the company values the contributions of existing employees.

mutsy
Post 1

I think that many grocery store chains prefer to promote from within, so it would be a great idea to actually begin working in a grocery store maybe in while you are in college so that once you receive your degree you can move ahead.

At Publix Supermarkets for example, anyone interested in a management position has to work by stocking shelves in each department within the grocery area in order to move to the front end coordinator position which is a type of management trainee.

After a successful assignment as a front end coordinator, they will then transfer you to an available store as a second assistant manager. Every subsequent promotion is based on your success in the position and subsequent openings that are available.

Many members of a grocery store management team work very long hours. For example, the managers typically close two to three nights a week and on those days they work from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

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