Food City nominees named Top Women in Grocery

Published 10:56 am Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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ABINGDON, Va. – Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery initiative recognizes the important role that women play in the food and grocery industry. Two Food City women grocers are named among this year’s top winners – Katie Penny, district manager, and Misty Deskins, director of loyalty marketing, ecommerce & outside sales.

“I would like to congratulate Katie and Misty on this well-deserved honor and all of their hard work and achievements. We are extremely proud of all of our women grocers and the key role they play within our company, the industry, and the communities we serve,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer.

Progressive Grocer receives hundreds of nominations from women grocers in all sectors of the industry across the nation. This year’s winners were showcased in their June issue and will also be recognized in November at their annual awards gala in Orlando, Fla.

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Penny serves as one of three District Managers for the company’s Chattanooga operating division. A third-generation grocer, she brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience to this key role, having also previously served as human relations coordinator manager and store manager for the company. Penny provides guidance, training, and recommendations to the company’s retail management and department supervision teams regarding all aspects of store operations for the thirteen retail stores spanning under her direction. These locations span four counties (Hamilton, Meigs, Bradley & Rhea) and the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. She leads her store management team in the planning, implementation, and execution of merchandising and operations initiatives and acts as a proactive leader of the operations team in evaluating and implementing new concepts in her stores. Penny also played a key role in the company’s acquisition of 6 Fresh n’ Low/Cooke’s supermarkets/pharmacies in the fall of 2022. She is a founding member of Food City’s EMPOWER program, which supports female associates through education, mentorship, and fellowship and is one of the youngest members of the company’s Senior Staff executive leadership team.

Penny is the recipient of the 2022 Claude Varney Volunteerism Award, Salvation Army Outstanding Corporate Philanthropy Award, and 2022 Golden Clucker Chicken Award. Prior to joining the Food City team, Penny spent seven years in management for the hospitality industry, where she received the 2015 Rising Star of the Year Award from Hyatt Hotels-Grand Hyatt San Diego. Penny is also active within her local community and currently serves on the board of directors for the Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga, Tenn. She also served as chair for the organization’s “Love Beyond Hunger” televised banquet in the fall of 2022. Penny is involved with a number of other civic organizations, including the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, Northside Neighborhood, and Preserve Chattanooga.

As director of loyalty marketing, ecommerce & outside sales, Deskins is responsible for loyalty marketing initiatives throughout the company’s 151 retail locations, including data management, analytics, and customer service-related activities. She is also responsible for the company’s ecommerce operations, including GoCart curbside pickup, Instacart Home Delivery, and Door Dash delivery services and manages the company’s corporate partnerships with a number of local attractions, including Dollywood, Titanic, Anakeesta, Hatfield & McCoy, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Chattanooga Aquarium. Deskins serves as a member of the Symphony Retail committee tasked with identifying and developing customer segmentation best practices and strategies. She has embraced emerging technologies to promote the continued success and growth of the company, while engaging and mentoring her team of associates to grow both personally and professionally. Deskins has successfully implemented several new loyalty marketing initiatives, including associate rewards programs, targeted email campaigns, digital coupon promotions, direct mail campaigns, and a new innovative Ticket to Ride fuel program. She also recently assumed responsibility for the company’s gift card/certificate sales program.

Deskins is a graduate of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a minor in Psychology. She holds a 2020 certification from Cornell University for “Rethinking Retail & Brands,” a Certified Collaborative Marketer professional certification through the Promotion Optimization Institute for coursework at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and is a graduate of the Cornell Executive Leadership program. Deskins also helps oversee a number of community events, including the annual Food City Charity Golf Tournament, Food City Invitational Tournament for Education, and United Way program efforts.

Headquartered in Abingdon, Va., K-VA-T Food Stores (Food City’s parent company) operates 151 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia, and Alabama