Ryan Faville, Director of Sales at Stewart’s Shops, has been with the company for 10 years. He was recently recognized by Convenience Store Decisions with the 40 under 40 award for rising next-generation leaders. All of us at Stewart’s Shops congratulate Ryan on his accomplishments and look forward to future success.
Ryan was interviewed by the magazine, read below for his full answers.
Can you provide me a quick snapshot of your responsibilities at the company? And any outside interests?
In my current role, I oversee a team of category managers and buyers responsible for optimizing the selection of items in the shops. Our group not only purchases and manages products on the retail shelves but also raw ingredients for our manufacturing operations. Our team is very lean, and each category manager wears a few different hats – inventory management, warehouse support, quality assurance, routine category management, etc. I am responsible for ensuring that we always have the best possible mix of products available for our customers. Our goal is to provide our shops and shop partners the items that give them the highest odds of success when it comes to meeting our customer’s needs.
I’ve been involved with Big Brother Big Sisters of the Capital Region for several years. It’s a great agency with a mission that has a major impact in the communities that we live and do business in.
What’s the biggest issue facing c-stores in your region?
Many of the categories have become so fragmented and the products tend to have shorter life cycles. We are challenged every day to make sure we are looking for the next hot trend or identify when a product is starting to decline. We must be realistic with the products we offer but we also want to make sure we are capitalizing when a product is growing. We can’t be everything to everyone, but we want to make sure our product offerings are relevant to what our customers are looking for.
What are some initiatives the company hopes to launch in 2019?
We will continue to focus on improving and growing our food service offerings. A strong food program can be labor intensive. Utilizing prepackaged foods produced in our kitchen at our distribution center allows us to offer quality products while managing labor at shop level.
2019 will be an ongoing battle to optimize our merchandising space with the ever-growing list of new and trending products. We must talk about tradeoffs – when a new item comes in, something usually has to come out. Unfortunately, no matter what you discontinue, it’s always someone’s favorite product.
What’s the most challenging issue facing young executives today?
Finding a balance between learning from the lessons of the past and constantly questioning the status quo. Change is typically very uncomfortable for many which may lend to doing something the same way it has always been done, even though it may not be the best way. Being curious enough to understand how we’ve arrived where we are and bold enough to suggest a change is always a challenge but may offer the best opportunity for growth.