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Paul Jordan can’t hide his enthusiasm about the grand opening on September 24 of Wegmans Food Markets’ new 108,000 sq. ft. store in Montvale, New Jersey, where he’s the store manager. It’s as if his 28 years of working at Wegmans were warm-ups for this moment.
The new Montvale store employs 500 people, 450 of whom are new to the company. Employees have spent the last several months training and preparing for the opening. For Jordan, the most exciting part of opening a new Wegmans store is “getting to know all the fantastic new people we have – every single person has a great story to tell.”
One of Jordan’s most important responsibilities, he says, is to ensure that every member of his team has the kinds of opportunities he had in his own career.
Jordan grew up in Liverpool, New York. By the time he was 16, he’d set his sights on Wegmans, where his brother had a part-time job. By high school graduation, Paul had earned a Wegmans employee scholarship that provided tuition assistance for him to earn a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland. He graduated in 1996 and went back to Wegmans, working as a night manager in Upstate New York. Then he was invited in 2001 to become a management trainee in the produce department at the Bridgewater, New Jersey store. He was assigned a mentor and began learning not only how to make the produce department an irresistible part of the store for customers, but also how to foster the career development of his team members.
His next managerial assignment was to open the produce department at the Woodbridge store in 2003. The following year, he became the service manager at Bridgewater, and then gained additional experience as the perishable manager at the Woodbridge, Princeton and Manalapan stores. He returned to Princeton in 2014 as store manager.
While Jordan has helped open other Wegmans stores, the Montvale store is the first he has opened as the store manager, overseeing hiring for the entire store as well as ensuring that everything stays on track as opening day approaches.
“There’s so much for our people to learn,” says Jordan. “We carry hundreds of produce items every day, imported and specialty cheeses, foods from around the world, and approximately 65,000 products in all. We will teach customers about cooking techniques, we have a 250-seat Market Café, and The Burger Bar will serve fresh-cooked meals for families to enjoy.”
The new employees also learn about Wegmans’ culture of mutual support. They see in action what it means to respect and care about those you work with and how team members empower each other to be their best.
“One of the first conversations we have at orientation is about empowerment. I want our team to know that it’s okay to do what they think is right to take care of the customer, and I’ll support them. When our folks know that their decisions will be respected, they don’t hesitate to act on behalf of the customer – and that’s powerful.”
The new Montvale store is Wegmans’ ninth in New Jersey and its 94th store overall.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 94-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 20 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2017.
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