May 2024

Maximizing value in Direct Store Delivery: Regional Store Manager

by Nick Capuano & Jordan Mullins

Back to insights

Maximizing value in Direct Store Delivery: Regional Store Manager

May 2024 by Nick Capuano & Jordan Mullins

Back to insights


There are many players in the complex system of Direct Store Delivery (DSD), where suppliers and retailers must partner to achieve mutual success. In this article, we’ll look at the pivotal role played by Regional Store Managers who often dictate the success and value created within this complex ecosystem.

Their actions and strategies contribute significantly to the interplay between retailers, suppliers and the achievement of mutual objectives. Let's explore the behaviors and approaches that differentiate a good, better, and the best Regional Store Manager, unveiling their distinctive roles and impacts in the world of DSD.

This knowledge and implementation of advisement are a core part of The Gap Partnership’s consulting services.

The role of the Regional Store Manager: Cultivating value in retail

Regional Store Managers are the stewards of the market, responsible for multiple stores and all the customers who live within. They need to understand customer demographics, shopping partners, and nuances across their stores and the marketplace.

The good Regional Store Manager: Establishing communication and objectives

A good Regional Store Manager ensures that stores within their region meet set targets. They maintain active communication, ensuring alignment with goals, primarily focused on store KPIs. Key behaviors incorporate:

  • Objective alignment: Ensures stores within their region meet predefined targets. They communicate expectations and KPIs effectively to their store teams, ensuring a baseline level of compliance and achievement.
  • Relationship with stores: Maintain healthy relationships with individual stores, ensuring communication channels are open and expectations are clear.
  • Coordinating with DSD partners: Establish basic communication channels with DSD partners but might lack a comprehensive understanding of the partners' objectives and how these align with store-level goals.

They manage to keep stores running smoothly and communicating expectations but may overlook the deeper collaboration and mutual objectives with their DSD counterparts.

The better Regional Store Manager: Enhanced collaboration and strategic insight

A better Regional Store Manager goes beyond merely ensuring stores meet targets. They elevate their role by implementing strategic adaptations and maximizing value. Their behavior encompasses:

  • Proactive store development: Proactively invest time and resources in developing stores within their region, providing tools, strategies and guidance for achieving targets.
  • Improved DSD partner relationship: Actively engage with DSD partners to understand their goals and KPIs, ensuring alignment with regional objectives and creating a more symbiotic relationship.
  • Sharing information: Shares store insights, market nuances, and customer trends with DSD partners, fostering an environment of collaborative adaptation and mutual growth.

Their interactions involve not only conveying expectations to stores but actively understanding and sharing information with DSD partners. However, the information flow still tends to be more unidirectional than fully collaborative.

The best Regional Store Manager: Holistic collaboration and value optimization

At the highest level, the best Regional Store Manager thinks beyond store-centric goals. They nurture a holistic, symbiotic relationship between stores, their teams, and DSD partners. This Regional Store Manager embodies the following behaviors:

  • Holistic ecosystem understanding: Goes beyond the immediate store-level objectives, grasping the nuances of the market, store dynamics, and customer behaviors within their region.
  • Two-way communication with DSD partners: Actively communicate the intricacies and needs of stores to DSD partners, while understanding and aligning DSD initiatives to match the market landscape, creating a win-win scenario for both parties.
  • Strategic adaptation and problem solving: Not only shares information but engages in joint problem-solving discussions, collaborating with DSD partners to create adaptable strategies that resonate with the market dynamics.

The best Regional Store Manager focuses on establishing a robust framework for stores while allowing flexibility for adaptation according to market drivers, essentially creating a valuable scenario for all stakeholders.

Inside their head: Mary’s maximization of Summer

Mary, an esteemed Regional Store Manager overseeing a chain of grocery stores in the Midwest, exemplified the strategies and vision of the best in her role. Understanding the dynamic landscape of the grocery business, Mary constantly engaged with her DSD partners to align their objectives and find avenues for mutual success. During the bustling Summer holidays, Mary recognized the need for a different approach. Despite initial instructions to focus solely on private label displays, Mary knew the significance of featuring national brands alongside.

Through her persistent communication and insight into customer preferences, she realized that customers sought both private label and national brands to enhance their shopping experience. Demonstrating remarkable collaboration and problem-solving, Mary influenced her DSD partners to develop joint displays showcasing their new summer products and innovations. This convergence significantly drove store revenue, exceeding targets by 24% during the seasonal rush. Mary's approach illuminated the power of synergy, proving that by working together, both retail and CPG entities could surpass their set goals, emphasizing the need for a collaborative mindset in the retail domain.


In the arena of Direct Store Delivery, the journey from a good Regional Store Manager to the best Regional Store Manager signifies an evolution from overseeing store-centric goals to curating a collaborative ecosystem that drives growth and success. The best Regional Store Managers foster an environment of mutual success, ensuring not only individual store targets are met but that the entire DSD partnership thrives, utilizing collaboration and a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics to maximize value in this intricate domain.

About the authors 

Nick Capuano, Senior Consultant, The Gap Partnership

Nick Capuano is a results-driven Senior Consultant at The Gap Partnership, based in Philadelphia, PA. With a career spanning over a decade, Nick has honed his expertise in business development, account management, and strategic leadership across various industries. His exceptional proficiency in delivering and facilitating core development workshops, coupled with his talent for building and maintaining positive collaborative relationships with clients, are fundamental drivers of his success.​

During his tenure as the National Business Development Manager at PepsiCo Foodservice, Nick led national new business initiatives in specialty retail, amusement, and fitness sectors. His exceptional abilities in prospecting potential customers, developing relationships with C-suite executives, and structuring national deals across all lines of business were pivotal to the company's success.

As the National Account Sales Manager at MFO Restaurants, Nick cultivated relationships with national customers, including renowned concepts such as Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Jersey Mike’s, Dairy Queen, and Capriotti’s. ​

His proficiency in understanding and managing customer organizations, utilizing personal influence and knowledge to achieve goals in a matrix environment, greatly contributed to the company's growth.

With a proven track record of success in strategic business development, relationship management, and leadership, Nick Capuano is a dedicated professional committed to driving excellence and achieving impactful results in every endeavor.

Jordan Mullins, Senior Consultant, The Gap Partnership

Jordan has spent the last 10+ years working and growing within the CPG industry, spending time with multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Coca Cola, Kraft Heinz, and Colgate Palmolive. During this time, he realized his passion not only for negotiation, but his desire to help his co-workers become the best versions of themselves, which led him to the Gap Partnership. ​

During his time prior to joining The Gap Partnership, Jordan was tasked with improving the processes for multiple national sales programs and being able to successfully train and deliver significant financial results across the organization simultaneously. Jordan has achieved a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration as well as a Master's in Business Administration from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.​

Jordan is currently a Senior Consultant and is responsible for delivering our portfolio of workshops brilliantly across all sectors such as CPG, Retail, Oil and Gas, Automotive, and Pharma. ​

Jordan finds passion for helping all of the participants find who they need to be during these workshops while helping them implement these behaviors and reap the benefits of the program.

About The Gap Partnership

The Gap Partnership is a management consultancy specializing in negotiation. We help organizations drive profitability, increase efficiency and reduce cost.

Negotiation is an integral part of everything a business does. It exerts a critical influence on the profitability and market value of the organization.

At The Gap Partnership, we provide development programs and negotiation training to our clients. We work with you to understand your challenges and performance needs. Our negotiation consultants come from your industry and will support you with a 'complete' solution that embeds learning, measures capability and delivers sustainable change.

We hold ourselves accountable for your success. 70% of our business comes from clients we have worked with for over five years

If you require further information on how we can help you and your teams make the most of every negotiation, or simply need to ask us a question - just call, email or complete the form.

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Nick Capuano & Jordan Mullins