Longtime employee produces inspiring milestone

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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For the Washington Daily News


Thomas Hennassey got his start in the grocery business as a food bagger. It wasn’t long before supervisors noticed his dedication the job and his easy kinship with customers.

He is still making people smile about food at Food Lion, now in the produce section at the food chain’s Washington Square Mall location. Hennassey was recognized this week for 30 years of loyalty, hard work and service to the North Carolina-based business.

Food Lion employs more than 68,000 people at more than 1,000 stores in 10 southeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Hennassey is one of 274 associates with long tenures of service, ranging 30 to 45 years, who celebrated a milestone year in 2020, according to a press release from the company’s Salisbury headquarters.

Although Hennassey said his wife and two children are his priorities, assistant store manager Jason Everett said Hennassey is a priority for a whole host of Food Lion customers who won’t trust any other employee with questions about their favorite foods in the produce section, where Hennassey has spent most of his years as a Food Lion employee.

“He interacts with every customer he sees. They know they can go to Thomas and, if anything is wrong, they know he will make it right,” said Everett, a 25-year Food Lion employee who has known Hennassey since 1996. “His personality is quiet, but if a customer is within 10 feet of him, Thomas will greet them. He’s even better with our elderly customers,” Everett added. “Many of our customers won’t talk to anyone but Thomas.”

Hennassey has worked at the Washington Square Mall store since the Piggly Wiggly that was previously located there closed. He talked about his gratitude for the good people at all the Food Lion stores he’s been assigned to, as well as customers who are as considerate and supportive as his coworkers and supervisors.

“They go out of their way to say hello,” he said, adding that it is “the little moments (with clients and fellow employees) that make the job fun. They make up for the people who aren’t so nice.”

Hennassey said he really doesn’t have a favorite moment from all his encounters during 30 years at Food Lion stores.

“I just have a lot of moments because I deal with a lot of people — some weird, but most good — and I have a good job, and that’s better than some people out there can say,” he said.

Timothy Crompton, who works at the Belhaven Food Lion, also was honored for his 30 years of service to the company, but declined to be interviewed for this article.