Happy 50th Anniversary, Richie!


Happy 50th Anniversary, Richie!

On June 28, 1966 Richie Graziano joined the Key Food family at just 12 years old.

Today, we celebrate Richie and all of the hard work and dedication he has done for Key Food over the past 50 years.

We recently chatted with Richie to learn more about his time with us.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Richie!

Tell us about how you first started working at Key Food.

I was born in Italy and came to America in 1961 when I was just 9 years old.When I was 12, my mother helped me get a job at Key Food because I barely spoke English. The manager at the time spoke Italian, so he taught me how to clean the floors – first I’d sweep, then I’d mop them, dry it up with saw dust, and then finish by sweeping again. I would work from 4-7pm every day after school.

Which locations have you worked at?

The first 30 years I worked at the store on 108th Street & Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park with the Tuchman brothers. Then I moved to the store on 127th Street & Rockaway Boulevard, but after a year the owners from the Ozone Park store asked me to come back. Next, I went to work for the Almonte family in Woodmere for 6 years and then 1 year on Queens Boulevard. When I decided to take some time off, maybe retire and travel, I was out for one day before Mike (store owner) called and asked me for my input on a store he was looking open in 2012 and I’ve been working for him ever since.

What positions have you held over the years?

I started out sweeping when I was 12. When I was 15 years old, they moved me to the registers right around the time that they got electronic cash registers. I started working as both a cashier and a stock clerk. Then they made me just a clerk for a year before I became the grocery manager. Next I became the assistant manager and finally I was promoted to store manager.

If you could tell yourself something on your first day, what would you say?

It’s a great job. You have to love what you do and I really loved the challenge. It’s all about the customer relationships. You need to respect each other.

What advice would you do you give to current employees?

You have to work hard to earn the respect of others. 

Do you have a favorite Key Food brand product?

I love the powdered iced tea mix. The canned vegetables are really good too.

Out of you 50 years here at Key Food, what was your most fulfilling experience?

Watching how the business changed and went back as new technology has been introduced. Sometimes too much technology gets in the way. I got to see it all come full circle.

Do you have any plans to retire?

No, no plans to retire. I really enjoy working for Key Food. I have fantastic bosses and love the people and the store. 

And finally, what has made you stick with Key Food for so many years?

I’ve just always really enjoyed it. The idea of changing my career never even crossed my mind. I was always treated very well. I was rewarded for my hard work and only had to ask for a raise once. My dream would be to retire as a supervisor and oversee multiple stores at once. It’s been such a long time since I started, but it feels like just yesterday. If I was given the choice, I’d do it all over again. I never had any bad experiences and I made great friends.

Please join us in wishing Richie a 50th anniversary here at Key Food!


Happy 50th Anniversary, Richie!

On June 28, 1966 Richie Graziano joined the Key Food family at just 12 years old.

Today, we celebrate Richie and all of the hard work and dedication he has done for Key Food over the past 50 years.

We recently chatted with Richie to learn more about his time with us.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Richie!

Tell us about how you first started working at Key Food.

I was born in Italy and came to America in 1961 when I was just 9 years old.When I was 12, my mother helped me get a job at Key Food because I barely spoke English. The manager at the time spoke Italian, so he taught me how to clean the floors – first I’d sweep, then I’d mop them, dry it up with saw dust, and then finish by sweeping again. I would work from 4-7pm every day after school.

Which locations have you worked at?

The first 30 years I worked at the store on 108th Street & Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park with the Tuchman brothers. Then I moved to the store on 127th Street & Rockaway Boulevard, but after a year the owners from the Ozone Park store asked me to come back. Next, I went to work for the Almonte family in Woodmere for 6 years and then 1 year on Queens Boulevard. When I decided to take some time off, maybe retire and travel, I was out for one day before Mike (store owner) called and asked me for my input on a store he was looking open in 2012 and I’ve been working for him ever since.

What positions have you held over the years?

I started out sweeping when I was 12. When I was 15 years old, they moved me to the registers right around the time that they got electronic cash registers. I started working as both a cashier and a stock clerk. Then they made me just a clerk for a year before I became the grocery manager. Next I became the assistant manager and finally I was promoted to store manager.

If you could tell yourself something on your first day, what would you say?

It’s a great job. You have to love what you do and I really loved the challenge. It’s all about the customer relationships. You need to respect each other.

What advice would you do you give to current employees?

You have to work hard to earn the respect of others. 

Do you have a favorite Key Food brand product?

I love the powdered iced tea mix. The canned vegetables are really good too.

Out of you 50 years here at Key Food, what was your most fulfilling experience?

Watching how the business changed and went back as new technology has been introduced. Sometimes too much technology gets in the way. I got to see it all come full circle.

Do you have any plans to retire?

No, no plans to retire. I really enjoy working for Key Food. I have fantastic bosses and love the people and the store. 

And finally, what has made you stick with Key Food for so many years?

I’ve just always really enjoyed it. The idea of changing my career never even crossed my mind. I was always treated very well. I was rewarded for my hard work and only had to ask for a raise once. My dream would be to retire as a supervisor and oversee multiple stores at once. It’s been such a long time since I started, but it feels like just yesterday. If I was given the choice, I’d do it all over again. I never had any bad experiences and I made great friends.

Please join us in wishing Richie a 50th anniversary here at Key Food!