Progressive Grocer Magazine -- the voice of the retail food industry since 1922 -- recently honored Fort Leonard Wood's Commissary Store Director Rachelle Davidson as one of their 'Top Women in Grocery' for the store manager category.
Davidson is one of five Defense Commissary Agency employees to earn the title in 2019, and she said she's been fortunate to work with great people.
"I was humbled, to be honest," she said. "I think we have about 236 commissaries in the world … and there's so many powerful women that work in DeCA -- and men -- but I've been pretty fortunate in my career. I've had some great mentors."
According to Davidson, honorees are recognized in one of three categories: executive level, rising stars, and store managers -- and are nominated by their peers.
Progressive Grocer's criteria for winning includes unique accomplishments and extraordinary achievements, such as leading innovative corporate initiatives, execution of outstanding financial and/or strategic objectives, astute problem-solving abilities and meeting exceptional performance benchmarks.
Davidson -- who started her career with DeCA 11 years ago in Tennessee -- said she enjoys the relationships she's developed with some of her customers.
"I have special customers back in Memphis that I go back and visit," she said. "They're so sweet, and they become family. I have this one gentleman, Mr. Overstreet, who's 84 years old, and when I went back to visit a couple weeks ago he brought me in this pie and hot pepper jelly. That's what he does, he loves to cook for us. You get to know these people and when they come into the store, a lot of them -- especially the older veterans -- they might not have family at home."
Davidson recently arrived at Fort Leonard Wood, and loves her new assignment.
"It's beautiful, lots of trees," she said. "The people are amazing. The base has been very supportive. I'm really excited to work here and have a nice relationship with everybody."
She said her immediate goal in her new position is to bring people onto the base by partnering more with her Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and Army and Air Force Exchange Service counterparts.
"There's so much to offer here between FMWR, AAFES and DeCA," she said. "Whatever we can do to come together and give back -- to provide that sense of family. That's what we're here for."