Three Food City nominees named Top Women in Grocery

Barbara Thomas, Melissa McCall, Malinda Sallee

Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery program recognizes the important role that women play in the food and grocery industry.  Three of Food City’s women grocers were named among this year’s top winners:  Barbara Thomas, vice president of training & front-end operations; Melissa McCall, pharmacy professional services manager; and Malinda Sallee, Weber City, VA store manager.       

“Congratulations to our three honorees who come from different areas of our operations.  We’re extremely proud of all of our women grocers who contribute so much to our communities, our company, and our industry,” said Steve Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer.  

Progressive Grocer received over 800 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, FL.  

Barbara Thomas heads up the front-end operations, training, and food safety departments for the chain’s 137 retail supermarkets.  She also supervises the company’s retail and corporate internship programs and served as a vital member of their COVID-19 task force.  

Throughout the pandemic, Thomas was largely responsible for implementing COVID policies and procedures.  She assisted with the hiring/training of nearly 2,500 new associates, worked closely with state agencies and industry associations, and collaborated with distribution center leadership to create a special retail reserve team to maintain product distribution during the height of the pandemic.  

Melissa McCall supervises pharmacy operations for 43 stores in Food City’s Tri-City operating division.  Her team collaborated with local health districts to offer COVID-19 testing at a number of rural locations throughout their market area. 

She was instrumental in obtaining approval for all of her pharmacy locations to participate in the federal COVID-19 vaccine allocation to the general public, and 19 of her 43 stores administered COVID vaccines allocated by the Virginia Department of Health early on.  

McCall holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Gatton College of Pharmacy and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Milligan College.  

Malinda Sallee manages Food City’s Weber City, VA location.  She emerged as a pioneer early in the pandemic, implementing a number of innovative safety measures that would later be adopted by state officials and national health organizations.  Her proactive approach proved invaluable in helping to maintain safe working and shopping conditions.  

Sallee’s store was selected as one of the area’s first drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites.  Her pharmacy served as a state COVID-19 vaccination site early on and is now a federal vaccination site for the general public.


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