Ellen Mikel shares her side of the story of Pathmark closing.
Over the years of shopping at the Pathmark in Montclair, I have noticed the change since the A&P took over ownership of the Pathmark some years ago. One of the things that stuck out was the lesser quality of some of the items. For example, the non-organic fruit had a bitter taste to it. Prior to A&P’s takeover, the majority of the fruit including the organic fruit did not have a bitter taste. The pricing of several of the products seemed to be more expensive.
On the subject of my dealing with the employees during my shopping experience, I’ve never had a problem with any of the employees in all the years of shopping there. They have always been courteous and helpful when, I needed help. I know some people who have complained about them being nasty and confrontational. I’ve never experienced anything like that! Customers can be rude and very demanding, as well as downright nasty. The Pathmark employees that I dealt with appeared to be well-trained and for the most part, directed me to the correct isle and answered my questions about a specific product and if they did not know, they had no problem in trying to direct me to customer service or to the employee in that specific department who could answer my question.
The Pathmark did not close because of “gentrification.” Its demise was a result of A&P’s bankruptcy situation, plain and simple. The rumor swirled about by those who didn’t know what the true story was. For the time being, the closing of Pathmark leaves a big void in this community, and I am sure that whatever replaces it, will hopefully be a full service and a well stocked food store that will continue to serve the members of our community with excellent prices and choices of items.
I searched out a friend of mine who was an employee at Pathmark for a short interview; her name is Ellen Mikel and this is what she had to say:
Q: How long have you worked at Pathmark?
A: 24 years and 10 months! In January, it would have been 25 years.
Q: Were you a cashier during your entire time at Pathmark?
A: No! In West Orange, I ran the podium, trained new employees and, on Thursdays, cashed the employee’s checks.
Q: Were you employed at the same location for the entire 24+ years ?
A: I worked in West Orange for 14 years and Montclair for 10+ years.
Q: How did you feel when you got the news that you were faced with losing your job?
A: Very upset.
Q: You worked for Pathmark for 24+ years, are you eligible for a pension?
Q: When did you find out Pathmark was closing ?
A: I received a letter in July that indicated the store was closing in November.
Q: I got information that some of the Pathmark employees have been hired by Acme. Can you confirm that to be true?
Q: Were you granted an interview for possible employment in another retail food chain?
A: Yes; Acme.
Q: Were you a full-time employee?
A: Part-time, never full time.
This interview was prepared or accomplished by Bruce Tyler, in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Montclair Dispatch.
Sources: The interview was conducted by phone on Nov. 11, 2015.