Talk about loyalty, job loyalty. ShopRite in Chester has lost one and is about to lose another long-term—forty-eight years to be exact--ShopRite employee. Think of it: forty-eight years with one employer. The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.1 years in January 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Joe Schott: He’d find what you wanted
Joe Schott, 66, officially retired from the frozen food department on New Year’s Eve. He came back for four additional Mondays in January to help out.
He started working in the Monroe ShopRite in 1973. In ’93 he helped open the Warwick store, and in ‘08 was asked to go to Chester. He’s worked in grocery, night crew stocking shelves and in frozen food.
Asked what his plans were, the first word out of him was “sleep.” Schott has a reputation for being kind and helpful. “It’s part of the job; working with the public,” he said. If somebody has a question, he helps out. “If it’s something we don’t carry, we’ll see if we can get it in, going through a supervisor and checking with Wakefern.”
He’s gone above and beyond.
“An older person who wants a smaller size of something--at times we don’t carry it. Some customers I’ve known for a long time, who are older and can’t get around--I’ve actually gone to other stores and bought it for them, and next time I see them I’ll give it to them.”
“It’s the type of job where you have to like dealing with people and what you do. You have to be a people person and have that kind of attitude,” Schott said. “Sometimes it’s rough; you do meet those kind of people [who] no matter what you say, you’re wrong.”
ShopRite had a cake for him on his last day. He and his wife, Barbara, who is a scanning coordinator for another ShopRite, live in Warwick and have four grandchildren living in the South, whom they look forward to visiting. Schott will also have plenty of time to indulge his passions.
“I love being outside working on the gardens and lawn; I bowl on Tuesday nights with the guys. Retirement is very nice,” he said.
Jack DeLuca, former manager at the Chester Shoprite, remembers Joe Schott: “Joe was really good; he did a great job. He kept the aisle good and never minded the cold. He always took pride in his work; he went above and beyond.”
Barbara Rosencrans: Checkout kindness
DeLuca also remembers cashier Barbara Rosencrans, another 48-year employee who plans to retire this spring. “[Barbara] was always a great customer person; she took care of her customers. They always liked coming to her; she made them feel like family.”
You could usually find Rosencrans checking out your groceries at the last counter, next to the pharmacy. Always friendly and cheerful, she worked throughout the pandemic, and returned after her own bout with the disease.
Rosencrans, 70, started at the Newburgh ShopRite on 17K, working part-time for extra money. After her divorce, she began full time doing many jobs; tagging items on the shelves; stocking the shelves and general ordering.
“I worked in every department except meat and deli,” she said.
She and her daughter and grandchildren live together in Marlboro and are planning a move to Florida, possibly near Tampa, when her grandchildren are out of school. Rosencrans has nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Besides spending more time with her family, she will enjoy some favorite pastimes. “I like to do crafts and puzzles--500, 1,000 pieces. If I really like them, I glue and make a frame for them so I can hang them,” she said. “I crochet a lot and make blankets for the kids.” She also makes holiday ornaments with sequins and paints wooden ones with her grandkids for Christmas
“I’m ready--I am ready,” she said. “I just want to relax and chill out, not do anything if I don’t want to. I can’t wait to get to move to Florida,” she said.
She’s had a lot of appreciative customers over the years; one of them was so impressed with Rosencrans, she asked the paper to write about her:
“She is a hard worker, dedicated and friendly. She was there even in the midst of Covid-19-- smiling, doing her job. I thought it might be nice to highlight some everyday heroes like her...It would be nice if she got a well-deserved recognition for her hard work and kindness.” Anna Mahmood
“I have a lot of wonderful customers. There’s one guy who ‘picks’ on me, and I pick back and we laugh; it’s just something that we do,” she said. “We’ve gotten to know each other so well, that’s how we start our day. If the morning is rough it just lifts your spirits.”
“An older person who wants a smaller size of something--at times we don’t carry it. Some customers I’ve known for a long time, who are older and can’t get around--I’ve actually gone to other stores and bought it for them, and next time I see them I’ll give it to them.” Joe Schott
“I have a lot of wonderful customers. There’s one guy who ‘picks’ on me, and I pick back and we laugh; it’s just something that we do.”- Barbara Rosencrans