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IGA Is "Jersey Strong"

Author: Brian Todd

The Independent View

Brian Todd

IGA Is "Jersey Strong"  

 November 9, 2012 

 

I stopped by the IGA in Ridgefield Park, NJ, on Sunday, and quickly noticed that a generator running by the front door created just about the only sound on Main Street. The downtown area of Ridgefield Park has been both dark and silent since Hurricane Sandy knocked down power lines nearly a week ago, but you wouldn't know it looking around the IGA. Several shoppers—my father included—were remarking on how happy they were to see that bakery rolls were available, while many others gratefully gathered items from the shelves.

For those of you who don't know, Ridgefield Park is next to Little Ferry, NJ, an area that was particularly hard hit by a storm surge that destroyed homes and uprooted families—many of whom I know personally. And yet, once again it was the local IGA that stood proud as the community center residents could depend on. Everyone knows Jim Capirossi, owner of Village IGA, and his manager Ken, and it was Ken who was in the front of the store when I visited. Ken was away from his own family to be sure the store was open and running, as were the cashiers and other employees who smiled and greeted customers, never revealing that they may have storm-related problems of their own to deal with.

Ken told me that their Licensed Distribution Center, Bozzuto's, Inc., had shipments ready to deliver when power returned to the refrigerated and freezer cases. He said he couldn't wait for that to happen so his customers could begin filling their carts fully because it would signal to the community that things were returning to normal.

IGA Ridgefield Park 2012

Being in the food industry for over 30 years and involved with IGA on a daily basis, I know this scene plays out in IGA communities across the U.S. and around the world every time disaster strikes. It makes me proud to be involved with an Alliance dedicated to helping sustain communities in good times and in bad. Never has that been more apparent than yesterday, when the community in question was the one I grew up in.

Brian Todd