Steve Gadbois has been on quite the journey.
From a career in the US Army, he always liked working with people.
Since 1996, he has worked for Food City.
Recently, Gadbois was named the winner of the Jack C. Smith Award for Food City Store Manager of the Year. The award is named for founder Jack C. Smith.
John Jones, executive vice president and director of store operations, described the criteria used to determine the winner of the Smith Award.
“We have a number of criteria we use,” he said. “The primary criteria is customer service, being judged by mystery shoppers and online surveys.
“Also, we looked closely in community involvement and Steve has been very active in the community, including fundraising,” Jones said. “He’s been very active for raising money for local food banks, also paralyzed veterans and juvenile diabetes.
“Other areas involved are more around the performance of the store, his is a top performing store. Steve would give credit to his team,” Jones said. “He’s involved in everything, we’re proud to have him lead our team in Dandridge.”
“I’ve been with Food City for 23 years,” Gadbois said. “I’ve always liked working with people and when they were building the White Pine Food City in 1996, I decided to fill out an application.”
Soon after, Gadbois started out in an entry level position, a stocker in the dairy/frozen department. A year later, Gadbois became a front end manager.
Gadbois was able to get into store management as assistant manager in 1998. He was an assistant manager for two years before getting his big break and moving into his first store, the Food City in Seymour in Jan., 2000.
He was in Seymour a year before going to the Corbin, Kentucky store from 2001-02. He also served as store manager in the busy Sevierville store in 2003.
He came back to Jefferson County in 2003 when Food City built a new store in Dandridge. He has been that store’s only manager.
“The clientele and the employees in Dandridge are top notch,” Gadbois said. “We have a diverse kind of customer base in Dandridge.”
The store is very busy from April to September with persons enjoying the area lakes. Last year, the store was the top store in the four-state company in hurricane relief fundraising with the Mission Able Program with Richard Petty. As a reward for being top store in fundraising, “King Richard” himself came to the store in the fall.
“We help out area schools, we gave gift cards for the Jefferson County High School senior lock-in,” he said. “We participate in the Race for Hunger each year. We live in a very giving area.”
Before coming to Food City, Gadbois enjoyed the outdoors and continued this when serving in the US Army from 1988-94.
“I was more of an outdoors type person,” he said. “I lived around people that’s what’s kind of turned it into a career.”
Gadbois’ wife, Angie is culinary trainer for Food City. The family has three girls, Amber, Chlesea and Kaylee, a freshman at Jefferson County High School.
According to Food City’s website, www.foodcity.com, the chain dates back to 1918 when a store was opened in Greeneville, but Food City’s official beginning took place in 1955 when founder Jack C. Smith --- with his father, Curtis and uncle, Earl --- opened the first store in Grundy, Virginia. Since then, Food City has grown through acquisition of several Piggly Wiggly operations in Southwestern Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, along with former Quality Foods, White Stores, Winn Dixie and BI-LO units in east Tennessee and Georgia.