Thorntons Salutes Employees, Troops

The 2011 General Manager’s Conference in Louisville features awards for top team members and vendors and a Humanitarian Event at Fort Knox.

By John Lofstock, Editor

Close to 400 general managers, regional managers, company executives and corporate sponsors gathered in Louisville, Ky., this week as Thorntons Inc. kicked off its 2011 General Managers’ Conference.

The meeting continued last night with a host of awards for Thorntons’ top employees and its top vendor partners at the Palace Theater in downtown Louisville. In all, dozens of awards were handed out wrapping up an emotional third day in Louisville. The featured presentation for the evening was the General Manager of the Year award. Tonya Smith (pictured below), of Store 610 in Nashville, earned top General Manager honors. She was showered with a host of elaborate prizes including a check for $10,000, a company-leased BMW for one year, a year’s worth of free gas and access to the company jet to visit her family in Chicago.

“This has been an unbelievable experience,” said Smith, who was one of 10 General Manager’s nominated for the award. “I have a great team that works hard, but we all understand that our goal is to provide great service. This award could have gone to any of the General Managers nominated. We all love our jobs the company we work for.”

In addition to Smith, the General Managers nominated for the
award were:

* Lyndon Britto, Store 306
* Mike Deel, Store 70
* Jim Eve, Store 554
* Paul Hodges, Store 606
* Bryan Ritter, Store 369
* Dee Ross, Store 62
* Tammy Schreiber, Store 351
* Matthew Sebastian, Store 52
* Angie Tandy, Store 353

While the General Manager award was the focal point of the evening, dozens of awards were handed out to team members in operations and store support. The following is a listing Thorntons’ team member awards:

Delight Our Customer Service Awards: Dawn Christensen, Store 373 and Chris Struck, Store 27

Legal Eagle Award: Joshua Renner, Store 603

CFO’s Golden Bucket Award: Tammy Schreiber, Store 351

Local Store Marketing Awards: Jim Eve, Store 554 and Bill Burden,
Store 25

Behind the Scenes Awards were presented to:
* Jim Fleshman, Store Support Center
* Mike Edwards, Store Support Center
* Sandy Deel, Store Support Center, Human Resources
* Kari Hobbs, Store Support Center, Payroll
* Chris O’Bryan, Store Support Center
* David Siebert, Store Support Center
* Brian Jennette, Store Support Center, Technology
* Darla Hill, Store Support Center

Store Support Champ Awards:
* Janet Villier
* Tina Payne
* Christy Jones
* Vickie Cischke
* Kim Coplan
* Bill Swanson
* Theresa Mattingly
* Lance Phillips

Operations Award: Amy Herriges, Store 310

Most Improved Region:
* Northern Region: Matt Dabulis
* Southern Region: Ron Bradley

Leadership Awards:
* Northern Region: Bill Darlington
* Southern Region: Kieth Jaggers

Regional Champ Awards:
* Northern Region: Tom Tegenkamp
* Southern Region: Troy Freeze

Suppliers Honored
The Hershey Co. was honored as Thorntons’ Vendor of the Year for the second straight year. The honorable mentions in vendor category included Consumers Choice Coffee, Advance Pierre Foods and Red Bull.

Robert Pillischafske, Hershey’s strategic customer sales executive, accepted the award on behalf of the candy company, noting that he was especially happy to accept the award because he has been a loyal Thorntons’ customer for decades.

Thorntons Regional Vendor of the Year was Tone Products Inc., based in Melrose Park, Ill., and its fuel Supplier of the Year winner was Marathon Petroleum Co.

Supporting the Troops
Awards aside, Wednesday’s events was a group trip to Fort Knox to prepare care packages for local troops deployed overseas and build bikes for children of the troops stationed there.

Every year around the holidays, the Fort Knox American Red Cross’ Helping Hands program opens its doors to allow low income soldiers and their families to “shop” for free toys for their children. In recent years, there has been a high demand for bicycles. Because of the limited funds, Helping Hands has not been able to meet the demand.

Enter Thorntons.

After learning about the Helping Hands program, Thorntons partnered with the Red Cross to provide 200 bicycles this holiday season. The bicycles were purchased, assembled and donated by Thorntons.

Additionally, the Thorntons team put together more than 4,000 care packages that consists of snacks and other comfort items for troops serving overseas. Both the care packages and the bicycles were assembled in about an hour, well short of the three hours the company had allotted to complete the project.

Thorntons’ 2011 General Managers’ Conference concludes Thursday. View the upcoming issue of Convenience Store Decisions for additional details and exclusive pictures of the event.

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