Filipino American entrepreneur Niño Lim founded the Walnut, Calif.-based Island Pacific Supermarket 24 years ago, and since then it has grown into a grocery chain with 19 locations across California and Nevada.

In 2023, the company was the only supermarket recognized in Fortune Magazine’s list of "Top 20 Best Large Workplaces in Retail.”

In an anonymous survey, one employee said, "There is a lot of communication between the C-Suite and the staff. Our CEO makes every effort to put the employees first and fosters a family environment.”

"The company resonates with the community; it promotes and gives back in many ways,” another employee said.

"Being part of Island Pacific is like being part of a big, supportive family,” said Javier Bravo, a long-term employee. “That is why I have been here since the supermarket started 20 years ago.”

The company said its positive company culture is fostered by local cultural events and charitable programs that connect the stores, customers and employees with their communities.

"Being recognized by Fortune Magazine is both an honor and a responsibility,” Lim said. “It reinforces our dedication to our team and the communities we serve. We are proud of our efforts to maintain a workplace where everyone feels valued and empowered."

“As executives and managers ponder on talent retention and keeping turnover rates to a minimum, Fortune Magazine’s recognition of Island Pacific highlights that the solution to those concerns (a values-based approach centering on employee experience) is simpler than some might think,” said Heidi Carreon, content specialist at 10storyhouse. “Fortune Magazine’s recognition of Island Pacific Supermarket, a small-but-mighty grocery store founded only in 2000, among legacy supermarkets and over most other ‘big box’ grocery stores shows that it’s not just about having the ingredients/products for food, but also providing an environment that allows workers to thrive as they serve the local community.”

“With the globalization of cuisine through mediums such as social media and the introduction of international ingredients on food competitions on channels like the Food Network, there are more eyes than ever on Asian grocery stores in America,” Carreon added. “Niño Lim’s path from being a young immigrant in the Los Angeles suburbs helping at his own family's market to being at the helm of a growing institution in the West Coast Asian American community reflects a culture shift in America where people of color are now in positions of power at the upper managerial and C-suite level at large companies. The grocery/food supply sector is a unique path for Asian Americans to reach that accomplishment.”

This article is an excerpt from the June 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Labor & Automation feature and more in the digital edition here.