Customers, coworkers will miss longtime Kroger employee

For Craig Gordon, a 75-year-old West Chester Twp. man with special needs, work has always been a labor of love.

That’s why his retirement July 16 after 17 years of working at the Beckett Ridge Kroger at 8238 Princeton-Glendale Road came as such a surprise to co-workers.

“We were doing a survey (of employees earlier this year) and it asked if you were going to be here in a year and he said ‘No, I’m retiring,’” said Lisa Gase, the customer service manager and Gordon’s supervisor.

Gordon’s late mother, Lucy, who died in January at 96 years old, was thrilled in 2001 when Gase said Kroger would love to put Craig to work following his 27-year career at Goodwill in Lima, according to sister-in-law, Sherri Gordon.

“Kroger is great with putting all types of people to work,” she said. “This is a company that embraces people who are different.”

The opportunity to work at Kroger for 17 years has changed her brother-in-law’s life completely, she said.

“When he worked for Goodwill, he worked in the back, folding clothes and doing whatever, but being with the public (at Kroger) for 17 years, interacting socially, has meant the world to him and the whole family,” she said. “He has really come out of his shell.”

Construction of a new Kroger just north on Ohio 747 is what led to his decision to retire, according to his sister-in-law.

“He’s a man of not too much change,” she said.

Craig, a soft-spoken man with salt-and-pepper hair and a wide grin, said he had no idea when he started that his career at Kroger would last nearly two decades.

He said he’ll miss working with store staffers who have become friends over the years and plans to return to visit them from time to time.

Gordon’s advice for anyone in any line of work? “Work hard and be on time every day,” he said. “I guess that’s it.”

Gase said Gordon has always been a dependable employee, arriving on time, bagging correctly and always doing excellent work. His hours decreased as he got older, going from full-time when he started out in 2001 to four hours a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

One thing that has not diminished over the years is Gordon’s positive effect on customers and co-workers, according to Kroger cashier Lisa Thomas, who supervised Gordon for about eight years.

“He’s a joy to be around,” she said.

Kroger customer Dr. Patrick Flannery said Gordon is a very friendly man who made him feel welcome on each visit to the store.

“He is an outstanding employee that always made the extra effort to help the customer,” Flannery said.

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