- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 28, 2006

For 29 years, Daryl McCausland has been a fixture in the local community — several communities, that is. In nearly three decades as a Safeway employee, the 45-year-old Rockville native has worked at 17 stores.

Mr. McCausland, who now manages the Safeway store in the Cloverly area of Silver Spring, earlier this month received the Food Marketing Institute’s 2006 Store Manager Superior Service Award, which the D.C. trade group gives to employees who improve store operations and customer relations through community service programs.

“You don’t want to be the guy who has your trash blowing in somebody’s yard — you want to be the guy helping clean up somebody’s yard,” said Mr. McCausland, who lives in Olney with his wife, also a Safeway employee, and two children. “I want to be a good neighbor.”

During his two years as manager there, Safeway’s Cloverly store has given financial assistance to more than 30 local schools and causes. The store has donated more than $40,000 to the local 4-H livestock auction, organized a carnival to raise money for breast cancer research, and collected donations to send care packages to troops in Iraq. In addition, it sponsored a wrestling tournament, bought new equipment for a baseball team and helped fund a cheerleading team’s trip to a national competition.

“I was very honored [to win the award] because there were so many other incredibly worthy people,” Mr. McCausland said. “I like what I’m doing, and I didn’t do it for any recognition. I just did it because it was a lot of fun.”

Mr. McCausland said he learned how to treat customers from watching his parents, whom were Safeway employees for a combined 74 years. Mr. McCausland realized the impact a store can have on its customers early in his career when he worked at a Safeway store in Northwest.

“People almost came to the store as a safe haven; it was almost like a community type of place where people could come and chat,” he remembered. “It was a focal point of the neighborhood — the store stood for more than selling groceries.”

Mr. McCausland, who describes his duties as being in charge of “everything inside the four walls and the parking lot, 24/7,” said he looks forward to Thanksgiving each year when the store helps organize and distribute Thanksgiving dinners to local families. The store has doubled its annual donation from 400 dinners to more than 800 over the past 10 years.

“It’s truly people who need it,” Mr. McCausland said of the dinner recipients. “It’s not the homeless sleeping on the grates — these are people who have houses but just can’t afford to give their family a decent Thanksgiving Day dinner.”

Henry Bash, vice president of retail operations for Safeway’s Eastern Division, praised Mr. McCausland’s efforts.

“He eagerly embraces the opportunity to serve his customers and the community and has been most generous with his time,” Mr. Bash said. “He is an asset to our company, not only for his contributions to our success, but as an ambassador in the community he serves.”

Mr. McCausland says he plans to remain at Safeway for the rest of his career.

“I’d like to end up as the old guy that everyone can count on over at Safeway,” he said. “They’ve treated me like gold and hopefully I’ve held up my end of the bargain.”

— Kara Rowland

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