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Featured ArticlesRETAIL STORE LEADER: MARIE-JOSÉE BERNARD

RETAIL STORE LEADER: MARIE-JOSÉE BERNARD

Recognition
OWNER, METRO PLUS LACHINE

Grocery Business Retail Store Leaders profiles the champions of grocery stores across Canada

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How did you start in grocery retail?

I began when I was 22, and I’m always looking to improve my knowledge in food management and develop my entrepreneurial skills. In September 2016, I joined the great Metro family as a franchise owner.

What do you like best about your work?

The opportunity to engage with people – both team members and our valued customers. I get satisfaction in contributing to the professional growth of employees. Coaching them, supporting their individual development within the organization, and motivating them to excel brings me a great sense of fulfillment.

How do you manage stressful in-store situations?

By promoting innovation, flexibility and problem-solving. An example of that is the collective agreement I drafted and negotiated with union representatives and Metro human resources team for my employees. It allows employees to switch roles easily, easing pressure during busy times and always being prepared to every eventuality. An ongoing training program was also born from this approach, which is quite unique in the industry. Ongoing training ensures employees are equipped to handle any situation, creating a smoother, adaptable work environment. This contributes to a better customer and employee experience, but also to addressing the challenges and issues of labour shortages in the industry.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned in your years as a store manager?

The importance of being dedicated and attentive to my team. Taking time every day to connect individually and express gratitude has been key. Supporting their professional growth has not only improved the team’s skills but also ensured they reach their goals. The feedback from employees, collaborators, and partners consistently reinforces the value of this approach.

Anything I missed that you would like to add?

I’m actively involved in community engagement and inclusivity. One example is the Food Hero application and the One More Bite program that fights food waste and supports those in need through practical measures like freezing and redistributing unsold products to Montreal’s food banks. I believe in inclusion and diversity and have been involved in providing on-the-job training for individuals with autism, integrating interns through social reintegration programs and offering job opportunities to retired individuals. We also established a free shuttle system for seniors and a phone order service without delivery fees for seniors at Metro Plus Lachine.

Our store also provides contributions of food, beverages, and snacks to various community activities to support organizations like the Lachine Community Social Paediatrics Centre, Centre multi-resources de Lachine, and “warmth stops” aiding those in precarious situations. We take a comprehensive approach to community involvement because we want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

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