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Food City Store Manager Receives National Recognition


ABINGDON, VA (Wednesday, May 8, 2013) – Arlie Watson, Jr., store manager of the Gatlinburg, TN Food City was recently chosen as one of ten finalists in Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Store Manager of the Year Awards.    

“Food City is dedicated to providing our customers with exceptional customer service and exceeding their expectations,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer.  “Junior is passionate about serving our customers and his community.  He is a tremendous asset to our company and the region as a whole.”   

FMI is the largest trade association of its kind, representing the interest of its membership and offering a broad range of services to independent grocers and wholesalers.  Their annual awards program recognizes supermarket store managers from throughout the United States and abroad for their “exceptional service to customers, employees and the community using innovative initiatives that contribute to company success.”  This year’s honorees were recently recognized at the industry’s Future Connect leadership conference in Orlando, FL.

“I am honored to have been selected as a finalist,” says Watson.  “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a tremendous group of associates in such a wonderful community.”

Arlie Watson, Jr. or “Junior” as he’s affectionately known, was born and raised in Sevierville, TN.  He began his career with Food City in 1996 as a courtesy clerk and held several positions before being promoted to assistant store manager in 1998. In August of 2000, Watson was promoted to store manager and served at a number of locations for the chain before assuming his current role as store manager of the Gatlinburg, TN Food City in October of 2008.    

Watson is an exceptional leader and is very involved with his customers and associates.  Over 35% of his associates have received service awards recognizing their extensive length of service.  Under his guidance and leadership, numerous associates have been promoted to management positions themselves, ranging from department managers to district supervisors.  The Gatlinburg Food City recently received the People’s Choice Awards for Best Bakery and Best Store Overall.  The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce also voted Food City the Best Grocery Store in Gatlinburg.  During the past year, Watson and his team have received numerous internal company awards as well, recognizing their achievements and success.  

Watson is also extremely active within the Gatlinburg community, serving as President of the Gatlinburg Rotary Club, Treasurer of the Gatlinburg Pittman Baseball Team, Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Scholarship Committee member, White Oaks Flats Cemetery Board member, coordinator for Gatlinburg’s Annual Ribfest and Annual Chili Cook-Off, coordinator of the Rotary Golf Tourney, volunteer for various Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce events, the 4th of July and Christmas parades, Pittman Center Elementary School Back Pack Program, Disabled American Veterans, Boy Scout Troop #211, Adopt A Spur Rotary trash pick-up project, Alzheimer’s Walk, Pittman Center Children’s Christmas Party, Pi Bets Phi and Jones Cove Elementary Schools, and USA Flags distribution project thru the Gatlinburg Rotary Club. 

He and his lovely wife, Cindy are the proud parents of three beautiful children, Daniel (16), Hailey (5) and Ben (3).  They attend Richardson Cove Baptist Church, where Watson also assists with numerous projects and activities, including their Food Basket program.

Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. (Food City’s parent company) operates 105 retail supermarkets throughout the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.