APPLEGREEN RATHCOOLE’S KARL FITZGERALD
Awarded 2021’s GMA Supreme Champion
Supreme Champion praised by judges for “demonstrating the importance of togetherness, health, and the wellbeing of his team, particularly during the lockdown periods.”
Read the winners story on
Now in their 16th year, the ShelfLife Grocery Management Awards have once again recognised individual management excellence in the grocery sector. A total of 20 awards were presented at the prestigious ceremony held yesterday on Wednesday, 27 October 2021 at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
Led by RTÉ presenter, MC Shay Byrne, the ceremony honoured the best in the many departments that make up local convenience stores and supermarkets, culminating in the grand prize of ShelfLife National Grocery Retail Manager of the Year.
Supported by platinum sponsor Bank of Ireland and carried out in association with Excel Recruitment, the National Grocery Management Awards scheme is independently judged and seeks out best management practice among those who carry responsibility without ownership in the grocery retail sector.
‘Heroes of Retail: Not all heroes wear capes’ was the theme of this year’s event, which recognised the tremendous dedication to customers and colleagues demonstrated by retail managers across the country, as they navigated a second year of the Covid-19 crisis and the myriad challenges presented for the retail sector.
In recognition of this outstanding commitment, this year’s ceremony included a special ‘Müller Hero of the Year’ Award, presented to a store that during the pandemic has consistently gone the extra mile for its local community.
Daybreak Williamstown in Co. Galway was the worthy winner, based on a sterling team effort which included delivering groceries for the local community and offering personal shopping services at no additional cost to ensure the vulnerable were kept safe and protected.
The Daybreak store also extended its deli opening hours to provide meals for those in need within the community. Furthermore, the team are very active in raising funds for the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF), including hosting a spin-a-thon on their forecourt to raise awareness and funds for the charity.
Our Supreme Champion for 2021, Karl Fitzgerald of Applegreen Rathcoole, Co. Dublin, likewise stood out in the judges’ minds for the way in which he has supported his colleagues and local community throughout challenging times, boosting morale through his positive mindset.
The judges were full of praise for Karl Fitzgerald and his achievements, noting: “The overall winner this year stood out for several reasons, firstly his dedication and passion for the retail industry was clear and highlighted by his peers. He is a hands-on manager, who builds rapport, has patience with his team and has a clear focus on promoting excellent customer service. He has really demonstrated the importance of togetherness, health, and the wellbeing of his team, particularly during the lockdown periods.”
This included allotting additional time to developing the staff that were heavily replied on during the lockdown, holding regular team meetings to keep the bond and positivity strong within his store, and always aiming to maintain morale throughout the pandemic.
“Our Supreme Champion credits his competitive sporting background and personal achievements for having a major effect on his management style and managerial success,” the judges added. “This has greatly influenced his overall mindset in work which affects his mood, positivity, energy, and passion for his job. These last two years have really demonstrated the importance of Karl Fitzgerald’s mantra which is to build the business around the people as opposed to building people for the business.”
On behalf of all the team at ShelfLife, we would like to thank everyone who entered the awards this year and say a huge congratulations to all 20 deserving winners, outlined below. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our platinum sponsor Bank of Ireland and all the sponsors highlighted below, without whom the ceremony simply would not have been possible.