Store Director Becomes AFS’ Newest Category Manager

Justin Darrington, who has most recently served as the store director at Macey’s in Pleasant Grove, has accepted a role as a category manager at Associated Food Stores’ (AFS) corporate office. Justin will oversee the condiments, juice, oils, vinegar, packaged dinners and related categories which means he will manage over $100 million in warehouse sales each year and much of what guests use at the dinner table every day.

“Justin has had tremendous success in his career on the ARO side and will bring great perspective, experience and knowledge with him to this new role,” said Fedra Chappell, senior category manager and Justin’s new supervisor. “We are thrilled to have him join the category management team.”

Category managers are incredibly important to the overall success of AFS. They are responsible for planning assortment, developing pricing strategy, planning promotional activity and managing key supply chain relationships within assigned grocery categories.

“Justin will be a great addition to category management and will bring a fresh, new perspective to this team,” said Steve Skinner, ARO district manager. “I’m certain Justin will keep retailers and local communities top of mind as he succeeds in his new role. Justin has done an outstanding job for ARO. I’m excited for Justin’s new opportunity and have complete confidence he will flourish as a category manager.”

Justin started his career in March of 1997 as a bagger in the Albertson’s on Bluff Street.  A few months later, he was given the opportunity to transfer to a new location in Washington, Utah where he began his progression through the company. He was moved to the grocery department and then became the dairy supervisor. After graduating from high school, he began college at Dixie State while continuing to work. He met his wife at school and moved to Orem after they were married. There, he worked at the Center Street Albertson’s store. The Darrington’s then moved back to St. George to finish school.

Over the next year, Justin worked into an assistant store director position. Looking for a store director role, Justin and his family moved back to Utah County where he worked under Mark Levingston at the North Orem Albertson’s location.

“This is where I was introduced to many of the people who have shaped my career,” said Justin. “Over the next few months, I worked with leaders like Jan Whiteley, Mike Cameron, and Dennis Jensen. I also became the team lead for the central stores and a department head trainer for newly promoted department heads.”

A few years later, Justin became an Associated Food Stores’ team member during the acquisition of the Albertson’s stores and transferred to Riverton to receive training from Amy Street and to work closely with the ARO office on some other projects.

Following stints in American Fork and Spanish Fork, Justin was transferred to the Pleasant Grove Macey’s where he worked to create a strong relationship with the community and local schools.

“Over the years I have worked in many different stores from St. George to Riverton and helped with various office projects and programs,” said Justin. “I have been extremely fortunate to work with some of our industry’s best people. I want to give a special thanks to my mentors who have helped me along the way. The people already mentioned, as well as David Rice, Darin Peirce, Steve Skinner, Steve Holm and Chris Otteson. They have challenged me to the best version of myself. There are countless others who have helped prepare me for this next opportunity. I am grateful for the relationships I have created and look forward to this new opportunity and the new relationships I will create moving forward.”