Food City nominees are ‘top women’ in grocery

Betsi JamesOur Town Eats

Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery (TWIG) 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 for 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, Florida.

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 13 retail stores under her direction. These locations span four counties (Hamilton, Meigs, Bradley and Rhea) and the city of Chattanooga. 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.

As director of loyalty marketing, ecommerce and 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’s degree in business 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.

Donation collections for Paralyzed Veterans of America, the nation’s only nonprofit veteran service organization dedicated solely to supporting veterans with spinal cord injuries and diseases, like MS and ALS, are underway through July 25 with long-time partner Food City and seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty.

The annual campaign has raised $3.19 million dollars since 2011. Last year’s Food City fundraising campaign raised over $439,000 for PVA; the supermarket chain hopes to raise over that this year. Customers can select $1, $3 or $5 donations at Food City checkouts and their gift amount will be added to their grocery bill.

Jobs, jobs, jobs: Food City continues to hire for full- or part-time jobs, entry-level or skilled positions. Interested candidates can apply online at or visit any Food City store to complete an application.

Betsi James is special events manager for Food City’s Knoxville and Chattanooga divisions.


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