Doris Folbrecht of Clifton has been checking out groceries for ShopRite in Bloomfield almost as long as CEO Neil Greenstein has been alive. For 50 years, the cashier has shown up to work on time, rain, or snow, or shine. She’s seen three generations of Greensteins run the family-owned grocery store, readily adapting to repeated technology changes in her job.
“When Doris started, there weren’t even scanners,” says Greenstein.
Folbrecht, the longest employed among more than 800 associates, was celebrated this week at Brookdale ShopRite’s annual service recognition event for her 50 years of service. Folbrecht has been a familiar face over the years for many long time customers, whose kids are now coming in to shop.
With cake, flowers, accolades and humor, the beaming Folbrecht was among 78 ShopRite associates – from baggers to cashiers, to department heads and managers – individually recognized for longevity at the job – 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 years of service.
“I used to work at a big accounting firm, and if you lasted three years, you were an old-timer,” says Greenstein. Indeed, in an era where job loyalty seems a thing of the past, there’s something very special about the work culture at this business whose logo states ” Your Supermarket with A Heart.”
Addressing the honorees, Greenstein reflected on how “10 years in some companies is a lifetime. Garfield Rose [10 years] of Bloomfield was first hired to round up the carts from the parking lot,” says Greenstein. “We recognized his potential and brought him in the store. After several promotions, he is now a top manager at our Newark store.”
Day-to-day assistant to the boss, Karen Vonoczky of Cedar Grove (40 years) was hailed as one of the smartest office managers in all the ShopRites. “She’s the heart of the organization, and it’s a privilege working with her everyday,” Greenstein adds.
Many of the associates are like family. Department manager Stanley Guziejewski of Cedar Grove (45 years) started in 1972 when Greenstein, still a toddler, was being pushed in a cart by his mother.
Greenstein is the first to celebrate and acknowledge gratitude for the dedicated, hardworking associates at his stores in Bloomfield and Newark.
“We now compete in the world of Amazon businesses. Peas are peas – you can get ’em anywhere – but it’s our culture of kindness and caring and the people, who make the difference to our customers.”