In a significant stride towards additional professional development and enhanced expertise, a group of category managers at Associated Food Stores (AFS) recently achieved certification from the Category Management Association (CMA). The CMA is the only organization certifying companies and category management professionals according to recognized industry standards. This accomplishment underscores AFS’ commitment to excellence in category management, benefiting both the internal team and the member owners of Associated Food Stores.

The comprehensive certification program offered by CMA equips category managers with advanced skills and knowledge essential for optimizing product assortments, maximizing shelf space and improving overall category performance. The recently certified category managers at AFS have undergone new, rigorous training, gaining insights into the latest industry trends, analytics and strategic approaches to enhance the shopping experience for customers.

“Empowering our retail success begins by investing in our people,” said Lon Herget, director of center store category management. “The certification not only enhances their skills but directly impacts our retailers by ensuring a strategic and customer-focused approach to category management. Together, we’re unlocking new possibilities and delivering an elevated shopping experience that sets our member stores apart.”

The benefits of this certification extend beyond individual professional growth, directly impacting AFS’ independent member owners. Category managers play a pivotal role in curating product selection, managing inventory and, in partnership with the space management team, strategically placing products on shelves. By completing the CMA certification, these managers are now equipped with cutting-edge tools and methodologies to refine their category management strategies, ensuring a more efficient and customer-centric shopping experience.

“The CPCA courses provided a great opportunity for me to learn even more insights into category management,” said Kris Romeril, senior category manager. “The courses also provided more confidence in my work as it confirmed the processes and procedures we have been using in our department and I look forward to expanding the knowledge we are gaining.”

The following team members completed the certification:

  • Lon Herget
  • Brad Erickson
  • Carissa Johnson
  • Chad Christensen
  • Fedra Chappell
  • James Armendariz
  • Justin Darrington
  • Kris Romeril
  • Kristy Coon
  • Lisa Dall
  • Nate Laver
  • Robin Olson
  • Shane Jacobson
  • Tammy Marlowe
  • Emily Nelson

As Associated Food Stores continues to prioritize excellence in category management, the category managers are well-prepared to elevate AFS’ performance.