ShopRite store manager George Fabrizio says he is at the front door of the Galloway Township store every morning even during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s where he says he sees many familiar faces.
“I’m thankful for my job and the ability to reassure customers that we are here for them,” Fabrizio, of Galloway Township, said in an email. “We get a lot of thanks from the community, which means a lot to us, but I am also thankful — for my family, my staff and our customers.”
Fabrizio has been with Village Super Market, Inc. and ShopRite for 17 years, starting part-time when he was a 16-year-old high school student.
The part-time hours gave him the flexibility to play baseball and focus on school, and what started as his first job eventually turned into a career.
Now, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has put grocery store workers such as Fabrizio on the front lines as essential workers.
“While my job is a little different today, the principle is still the same: It’s always about providing the best and safest shopping experience for our associates and customers,” Fabrizio said.
According to Fabrizio, this means taking new safety precautions.
He says the Galloway location continues to have “regular, deep, enhanced” cleaning across the store.
They also are limiting occupancy in the store and taking associate’s temperatures when they arrive for work. They’ve installed plexiglass shields around all their cash registers and customer service desk and they encourage social distancing throughout the store.
Staff meetings have changed as well, as they use video conferences and hold shorter staff “huddle-ups” outside.
“I feel very fortunate to continue to work, especially when so many people right now are hurting. I have many friends who work in the restaurant business who have been impacted by this crisis,” he said.
Fabrizio says his wife and kids are the reason why he comes to work each day, and he is also motivated by his co-workers.
“My co-workers are part of my extended family and we’ve created bonds and relationships that mean a lot. I’m proud of all my ShopRite co-workers who are out here stocking shelves, running the checkouts and cleaning our stores,” he said.
He also says he is motivated by the company that he works for.
“Village Super Market, Inc. is making sure all associates have gloves and face masks. They’ve also donated PPE to local hospitals, as well as meals, snacks and water,” he said. “Everybody is going above and beyond to help, and we all take that responsibility very seriously. “
Despite showing up every morning at the front, Fabrizio says he does not consider himself a hero.
“My brother is a police officer, a detective in Atlantic County, and I consider him a hero,” he said. “I do, however, consider my ShopRite co-workers and all essential workers to be heroes for the important jobs they are doing to support their neighbors and communities.”