Being Kathy Sgro

Kathy C. Sgro,
Chairwoman and Executive Vice President, Pay-Less Supermarkets

Not too many people know that behind the gracious smile and the quiet disposition are the endearing qualities of a hardworking, no-nonsense business executive who runs one of the most successful companies on Guam.

As a distinguished professional in the community and this year's recipient of the "Progressive Grocers Top Women in Grocery Award," Kathy Sgro works hard and can do it all with her outgoing personality. She loves the outdoors, has a hard time turning down a challenge (including skydiving) and the participates in several running races both here on Guam and off-island.

She may be known as the leading woman behind Pay-Less Markets Inc., but there is definitely more than meets the eye. She is the chairman of the board and executive vice president pf Pay-Less Supermarkets, vice chairman of Pay-Less Markets Community Foundation and treasurer of Calvo Enterprises Inc. As she was different hats at the company, Sgro's typical days are periodically interrupted by issues concerning employees, vendors or delayed shipments, issues of short, damaged or outdated shipments, equipment issues, and inclement weather which might require store closure.

part of her prime responsibility in the morning is to assess the prior day's performance, followed by email communication with staff or customers. "I have regularly scheduled weekly meetings with our buyers and marketing team" Sgro said. "As a team, it is imperative that all components within the corporation work in sync to meet customers' demands and expectations."

Pay-Less Markets Inc., which currently employs approximately 650 people, consists of a corporate office to support eight grocery stores and a warehouse facility. On the average, Pay-Less has about 475,000 customer transactions each month, which makes for a very active locally owned business.

In 2008, Pay-Less Supermarkets launched the "Py-Less Goes Green" campaign, which is design to fulfill a social responsibility to help improve and preserve Guam's environment. In 2012, the Mission Zero Bag campaign was introduced to help mitigate the proliferation of plastic bags, which were often distributed at the checkout counters. Pay-Less is the first retailer to issue rebates to customer who bring in reusable bags. Pay-Less has equipped with energy-efficient equipment, bailed over 600 tons of cardboard annually, set up recycling bins at their stores, donated damaged produce and shredded papers to local farmers for feed and composting utilized electronic invoicing, distributed only "biodegradable" plastic bags, and supported many Go Green community efforts.

To date, Pay-Less Markets have eliminated approximately 4.8 million plastic bags from being distributed in their stores issued over $500,000 in rebate dollars to customers and 10 other island retailers have partnered with Pay-Less in their quest for a Mission Zero Bags campaign. As part of its efforts to educate consumers regarding health and wellness, Pay-Less is the first grocery chain on Guam to introduce a wide selection of natural and organic products which eventually developed into a section called Health Smart. "Today, Pay-Less Markets have approximately 4,000 Health Smart line items in the system." Sgro said.

Sgro, the second of seven children of former Gov. Paul Calvo and Rosa Baza Calvo, was named the 2006 Businesswoman of the Year by First Hawaiian Bank and Guam Business Annual Businesswoman of the Year, which jointly organized the Maga'Haga Award Program. She was the first recipient of the award which was launched that year.

She graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam in 1977 and pursued a bachelor's in commerce and marketing from Santa Clara University and a master's in financial planning from GoldenGate University.

As a woman leader who sits in several boards and committees, Sgro believes there are fewer barriers to being a female leader in Guam today compared to a decade ago "Oftentimes, challenges are simply perceived barriers to getting a job done, regardless of one's gender." she said. One of the philosophies of Pay-Less Supermarkets is giving back to the community. In 2007, Pay-Less Markets Community Foundation was established to support the efforts of nonprofit organization on Guam to help build their capacity, whether in the area of health, education, social services, and the environment. PMCF provided resources, workshops and monetary contributions to help out the community. Both management and employees of Pay-Less participate in volunteer work to become more sensitive to the needs of the community and to be able to fill the gap when it is all possible. "We believe the giving back to our community strengthens the character of both our company and our employee base." she said.

Sgro manages her time well as a mother of four, managing the companies she is truly passionate about and finds time for activities which help carry her through in her everyday life.

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