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A neighborhood fights to get its supermarket manager back

Residents in Hyde Park have started sending e-mail and letters to Shaw's to try to get April Ricci re-instated as manager of the Hyde Park Avenue store.

The chain, owned by Albertsons of Boise, ID, recently transferred Ricci to a store in Waltham.

Ricci was way more in the public eye than your average supermarket manager, in fact, was a regular contributor to the Hyde Park Facebook group, where she would keep people updated on efforts to upgrade the store, from parking-lot repaving to a recent overall renovation project that ended in a "grand re-opening." Residents also praised her for contributions to the community, such as this year's Juneteenth celebrations and for making a point of hiring local residents for the store.

In a letter posted on the Facebook group, Marcia Kim-Jackson of the West Fairmount Community Group called her "a lifeline and a leader in this community."

One shopper told Shaw's today there might not be any reason for her to return to an April-less store:

Please keep April in Hyde Park! Please do not transfer her to Waltham! She turned your store around is a valued member of our community. Many of us returned to Shaw’s after a long absence due to April’s efforts. I’m inclined to shop elsewhere without April at the helm.

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Big chains have the power to move humans around like playing chess. I hope they are paying for her transportation at least.


Did anyone ask what April wants?


I learned that she knew managers are frequently moved around, but she really wanted to turn that market around. It is her hometown but, more than that, she really wanted to make an impact there.
Ultimately, it's corporate's decision where managers go, but in April's case, I'm sure she didn't want to go to Waltham.


She doesn't want to leave HP Shaw's. Eileen


My letter to Albertson's:

April Ricci and Patrick Paul are the very best employees that Shaw's has ever had. I transferred all our RX's to Osco's when the Walgreens next door was closed because of all the amazing thing I heard about Patrick who knows me by sight. I made Shaw's my primary grocery store during the pandemic and continue to do so because of the amazing job April has done in keeping the store stocked, clean, and managing it throughout the reconstruction, making it a really nice store. I am appalled that they are being involuntarily transferred. Both have a very big fan club here in Hyde Park, Roslindale and Milton, MA. They've been a godsend for the folks in the elderly housing at the Blake Estates, across the street from Shaw's. Pleas retain these wonderful people.

Eileen Velez, Admin Hyde Park, MA Neighbor's Facebook group and Hyde Park resident.


Sad, but this brings back memories of my time in college working for a large department store chain. There were always good managers that were excellent to work with (they helped doing stuff, instead of watching) After a few years they'd be offered a promotion to a different store, and they'd be gone. The District Manager needed them to help a struggling store elsewhere.

This is just one of several common tactics that some large chains use. It is a form of punishment though they will never state that openly.

All of the major grocery chains have a requirement of all full-time employees that they must be able to work at any store within a fixed radius. The store may not be on public transit so access to an auto is a requirement. Then if your salary gets too high or there is some reason that you have rubbed someone the wrong way, they will transfer you and you keep your job as agreed in your employee contract. Then if you cannot get there or refuse, you are terminated.

Quite a few chains use this tool, not just grocery stores.

It may be that the company decided this person is too close to the community and lacks what ever separatist values that they require of a manager. If a person gets too powerful in some areas that is one way they will deal with you.

Then again, would the new store assignment need that type of manager to turn things around? Hard to say. Of course if the manager has rubbed enough employees the wrong way to assure they do their job, that is another fish to fry.

Sadly, public outcry is not going to sway anyone at corporate. And this is not the only manager this has happened to over the course of time. Ask around.

I get it. I would do similar if Shaws/Star market north station tried to move their pharmacy manager.