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In 1956 Zuma Richardson, Dr. Jerome P. Sims and Roger Howard began operating the first Shop Rite in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Zuma was a local businessman with a background in the grocery industry. He was employed by Home Stores in downtown Chattanooga and as a sales representative for Morton Salt prior to opening Shop Rite. Zuma saw the need for a grocery store in Fort Oglethorpe and joined with local physician Sims and brother-in-law, Howard to begin business.
Over the years, Shop Rite has hired numerous individuals in each of the communities it has and/or is operating. I was one of those employees hired by Shop Rite to work in its warehouse in the late 60’s to load trucks. By working during the summer months and during breaks during the year from Jax State, I was able to earn money which helped me make it through college. Upon graduation in 1972, I began my career in the field of accounting. In 1987, I met with Zuma and Mike Richardson and agreed to come back to Shop Rite as accountant for the Company.
Zuma was active with the Company until his death in 1991. His son Mike Richardson was active with the Company until his death in 2009. Mike’s son Todd is currently serving as Executive Vice President and will assume the position of President and Chairman of the Board in January 2017. Mike’s other son Matt is now serving as Vice President of Produce operations.
Other office personnel include Reba Southern who began work for Shop Rite in 1972 and is the Corporate Secretary. Debbie Masterson began working for Shop Rite in 1980 and is the administrative secretary working with accounts payable and accounts receivable. Rick Millard, maintenance supervisor, has been with the Company since 1968. Wayne McDonough, vice president of operations began with the Company in 1989 and David Hollis, CFO and Executive Vice President, began work with the Company in 2005 and also worked in the stores earlier in his career.
Virgil Bishop, Jim Floyd and John Rogers also worked for the Company for 40+ years before retiring. Virgil still serves on the Board and Jim and Johnny both work for the Company on a limited basis.
The above are examples of the longevity of employees for Shop Rite. Many of our store management personnel have been with the Company for their entire working life. Since I have been with the Company, many have retired and been replaced with employees who are dedicated to the Company and will stay until they retire.
As things change, Shop Rite has been, in addition to a source of employment, a supporter of many causes over the years in the communities in which it operates. Our customers now have various sources to obtain groceries and yet we have many dedicated customers. It is difficult to compete with the major chains and the dollar stores and club stores, yet our staff is dedicated to continuing in business offering customers with an alternative to the much larger operations. It is also much more difficult to secure dedicated customers as more and more, people are seeking convenience above service. It is our intention to offer competitive pricing and service to our customers and to provide that service with a smile and by showing how much we appreciate the customer shopping with us. I encourage everyone to consider what your community would be like if Shop Rite was not a part of your community over the years.
To our dedicated customers, we want to say “Thanks for your business”. To those not shopping with us we invite you to visit us and allow us the opportunity to serve you the Shop Rite way.
Our anniversary ads will run the weeks of Monday, May 9 through Sunday, May 22, 2016. Check our out ads at my-shoprite.com each week and visit our stores for great deals, clean stores and great service.