Meet The Team: Thomas BeCude, Category Manager of Seasonal and Garden
The tag line in Thomas BeCude’s email signature reads “My job is to drive sales. How can you help me do my job?”
It’s a straight forward question — directed primarily at supplier partners — illustrating Tom’s continued focus on delivering strong results through collaborative supplier relationships.
“It’s simple: I need to drive sales, and I need their help to do it,” says Rite Aid’s newest Category Manager. “I count on our suppliers to educate me about their business and use their knowledge to help in delivering value and excitement to our customers.”
Since taking over for Steve Moss, who retired in January, Thomas has focused on learning the ropes at Rite Aid – not that he’s unfamiliar with the seasonal drug store business.
A Florida native, Thomas got his start in Eckerd’s photo department in the early 1990s. That experience sparked an interest in the photo business that Thomas never lost while making a rapid ascent up the ranks. In just a few years, he was promoted to assistant manager, store manager, district manager and eventually group photo manager. “I managed the Eckerd photo labs in Florida, which was about 730 at the time,” he says.
Thomas’ next move was into category management, where his operations experience and bachelor’s degree in math helped him make a smooth transition into the seasonal business. “I’m a numbers guy, and so much of what you do on this desk is analytical,” Thomas says. “I really enjoy that part of it.”
He joined Rite Aid after more than a decade of seasonal experience at Eckerd and a three-year stint at CVS. “I was enticed to come here because of the culture,” he says. “As long as you’re factually sound and have a good case for what you want to do and why, you’re able to have a lot of input here.”
Thomas also appreciates his team, especially the opportunities he’s had to get to know them away from the office. An avid bowler, Thomas particularly enjoyed a recent RAPTAR bowling outing enjoyed by many members of the category management team. “The RAPTAR environment to recognize, appreciate and praise fellow associates for a job well done is pretty slick,” Thomas says. “It builds teamwork and camaraderie that helps when things get stressful. My team is really sharp.”
Thomas is focused on finding ways to grow Rite Aid’s seasonal business. “We’re good at fulfilling the customer’s needs. Take Easter, for example. We sell the basket-filler grass, the eggs, the baskets. We have it covered,” he says. “What we don’t do as much is stretch to fulfill the customer’s wants. So going forward, you may see more items to set the mood for the holiday – the wreaths, the table décor, the decorations – items that set the tone for each season.”