ShopRite: How the pandemic formed S.I.’s greatest supermarket

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As the realities of the pandemic sank into the collective psyche of shoppers in late February 2020, the hoarding of groceries began. From the depletion of inventory that resulted, the food items chain reshuffled. There have been shortage and distribution problems. ShopRite entrepreneurs Kevin Mannix and […]

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As the realities of the pandemic sank into the collective psyche of shoppers in late February 2020, the hoarding of groceries began. From the depletion of inventory that resulted, the food items chain reshuffled. There have been shortage and distribution problems. ShopRite entrepreneurs Kevin Mannix and his son, Tim, mirrored on those profound pandemic moments that left a lasting effects on Staten Island’s largest grocer and one particular of the community’s premier employers.

ShopRite’s entrepreneurs at the New Dorp retail outlet, Tim and his father Kevin Mannix. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

“A yr ago it was really dark from March by the summer months. Who at any time believed we’d see our kids putting on masks all over the place?” questioned Kevin Mannix. He and son Tim lately talked over the monumental time from the New Dorp store’s conference place.

“No far more salad bars,” said Kevin about his retailers. As for the Graniteville and Charleston operations, he added, “I never have any plans to deliver them back in the two stores. Shoppers are substantially more receptive to operate on a bigger degree of security. Products and security ended up finally the worry.” (Some other ShopRite house owners have decided to bring back salad bars.)

Kevin said that for the last calendar year in distinct, “The pandemic did adjust our company drastically. We were being the first to place up shields at the registers. We did abide by the principles of how lots of persons [could occupy] the retail store.”

ShopRite on Richmond Avenue

ShopRite on Richmond Avenue in Granitevill at 7:20 a.m. on April 20,2020. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

He defined, “Our initially concern was, ‘Can we get ample associates to person it?’ Our associates were keeping their have.”

Without a doubt, on the quite entrance line on customer provider in a tense and germophobic atmosphere, the ShopRite employees was stretched to its boundaries. The Mannix’s emphasized how thankful the loved ones was for their associates who came to get the job done in the throes of COVID-19.

“Just like medical practitioners and nurses, they have to report to battle. Below seeking problems our associates had arrive to perform. It was just a bigger degree of intensity,” mentioned Mannix.


ShopRite is back again to its 24 hour format. (Staten Island Progress/Pamela Silvestri)

Impact ON THE Shopping Encounter

The spring as a result of the summer time of previous calendar year was rough, Kevin admits. He explained, “We weren’t having adequate product to [fully] stock the cabinets. Most of our solution comes in overnight. As before long as the solution was place on the shelves, then we had to handle the crowds. Individuals ended up trying moments. Not only had been the associates fearful of coming to operate…we had erratic shipping and delivery of solution . . . It was chaotic.”

Mannix said, “People had shop rage. It wasn’t good news coming on the radio. We never ever experienced this as a country. Searching again on it, we were being equipped to continue to keep the retailer open up. Every little thing came in and we obtained it on show. Everybody was on allocation, primarily with rest room paper.”

Paper towels

The paper towels scenario at ShopRite, Charleston, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Courtesy of Joanne Stamberger)Joanne Stamberger

Hoarding place a superb stress on rest room tissue, serviette and disposable towel output and, subsequently, their distribution. From March through July of 2020, offer was so wonky that supermarket circulars weren’t released with sale charges.

Mannix said, “It was four months of when we did not know when the trucks have been heading to get there. It was like donning a blindfold.” He additional that often 15 trailers would present up at at the time — or not at all.

He ongoing, “It designed unbelievable chaos to obtain the deliveries. The personnel is owed the credit rating for managing it.”

All through the pandemic, ShopRite moved its New Dorp store from this location on Hylan with its Scott Lobaido-painted flag to The Boulevard farther up the street. (Shira Stoll/Staten Island Progress)

Alter IN Hours

Throughout the pandemic yet another Staten Island phenom took place — ShopRite modified its hrs. On Saturday, March 7, 2020, early early morning purchasers utilised to the 24-hour structure were being told the shop would open at 8 a.m. Buyers on a expanding queue outside the Graniteville retail outlet that working day questioned what was up with this ShopRite aberration. Once in a while in Spring 2020 the shop went dark at 8 p.m., then 10 p.m. and midnight. The retailers have been back again to the round-the-clock hours considering that early Might, 2020.

Mannix said with the entire world coming to a prevent — no restaurants, no videos, and many others. — the grocery store became the sole resource of leisure.

The new ShopRite opens Sunday in New Dorp

Innovation in the pandemic: In Oct 2020, new carts with consume holders ended up introduced to purchasers. The different compartment was supposed to stop burns from incredibly hot drinks. (Staten Island Progress/ Jan Somma-Hammel)

He mentioned, “Nothing was open. In which were folks intended to go? People were coming up to me and asking me why I was closing. They imagined we ended up accomplishing it as a penalty. We were carrying out it to calm all people down. We did it to clear, calm all people down. There was a lot of strain on my management workers.”

He ongoing, “We’re not going to have you walk about an empty retailer. Superior points are just not going to transpire. It examined the waters . . . In the scope and scheme of issues nothing at all actually major transpired. With any luck , we acquired excellent marks from buyers for remaining right here. If there is a dilemma we’re likely to be on the entrance lines.”

Kevin’s son, Tim ,hopes that the Mannix family’s steadfastness in hurricanes, floods and the pandemic resonates with consumers. He also understands that Kevin and the household who get the job done in the enterprise are incredibly available. He reported, “We’re substantial and modest at the same time. But people get a kick out of our personal household enterprise . . . We’re nonetheless below in the aisles, 7 days a 7 days. We’re consistently making alterations.”

Thanksgiving turkeys

ShopRite donates routinely to foods pantries like Staten Island’s premier at Christian Pentecostal Church in Concord. (Staten Island Progress/Jan Somma-Hammel)


Mannix got his begin in the business at 375 Tompkins Ave., a former A&P that would changeover into a Waldbaum’s and Foods Universe. It’s now a university. A St. Peter’s Boys Faculty and St. John’s College graduate, Mannix grew up in Stapleton. His initially administration assignment was at the A&P on New Dorp Lane in 1974. He joined Wakefern in 1977. He procured the Hylan and Forest Avenue shops in 2007, then before long begun building on the Charleston place. The latter operation took seven several years to open.

As he spoke from 2656 Hylan Blvd. at The Boulevard complex, Kevin explained, “We’re sitting in which K-mart and Pathmark ended up. Before that there [was] WT Grant . . . ”

The 1st ShopRite on Staten Island was in close proximity to the Staten Island Mall exactly where Halt ‘n’ Store now lives. It is portion of Wakefern, a getting cooperative that started out in 1946.

The elder Mannix walked by means of the record of the supermarkets in the borough from his corner of the grocery globe. He explained, “So here arrives Wakefern and they open up a retail store immediately after this in the ’80s out by the Shopping mall. A yr right after it opened the owner decides to give back the retailer to Wakefern and [Wakefern] ran it for yrs.”

Then, Pantry Pleasure in New Dorp went out of company.

The Wakefern co-op at some point took over that place. “Then we had two ShopRite retailers on Staten Island,” Kevin claimed. “Then in 1994 we opened ShopRite on Forest and Richmond Avenues we closed the one particular out by the Shopping mall.”

Kevin reminisced even more in supermarket nostalgia, delivering a lesson in how the industry has shifted around the yrs utilizing the background of the New Dorp retailer as a marker.

He mentioned, “Way again Pathmark was just one of the proprietors. Supermarket’s Standard and the name outdoors the shop was ShopRite before the middle became a K-mart. In 1969 there was a divorce concerning Pathmark and Wakefern. Pathmark resolved to go away the title — the red and blue label. It stayed there right until A&P and then went bankrupt.”

The new ShopRite opens Sunday in New Dorp

Be aware the orange floor in ShopRite, a shade that proprietor Kevin Mannix thinks will make create shades pop. (Staten Island Advance/ Jan Somma-Hammel)

Kevin mentioned, “I’ve been joyful and lucky to give my household a fantastic dwelling.” And he’s always finding out. An architect once spelled out to him why a Canadian grocer’s deliver aisle was so impressive — the orange flooring would make the bins of colorful fruits and veggies pop. This is why a ShopRite shopper will always see an orange flooring as backdrop to the deliver aisle.

Tim now is more included in ShopRite.

He joked, “Slowly but undoubtedly I’m getting factors away from my dad’s limited grip. At the conclusion of the working day, we joke about the day — so significantly comes about in the system of a working day, you learn so much.”

As for the long run, Kevin vows to carry on the market’s generosity. He mentioned, “We very seldom say no to any firm. Our associates want us to give back. So it is glorifying to give again.”

Kevin included, “It all will come jointly. If we have our well being, we have our families, we’ll get there ultimately.”

Pamela Silvestri is Progress Foods Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].

Clarita Lorenzano

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