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Heffernan and crew cut the ribbon on a rejuvenated CBS Sobeys

On hand to help Pop and staff cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Long Pond Sobeys Thursday morning were Jane (left) and Julie Heffernan, granddaughters of store manager Paul Heffernan. To celebrate the newly renovated store, staff handed out $10 gift cards and slices of cake and other refreshments to the first 500 customers. Mark Squibb photo

By Mark Squibb

After eight months of renovations, staff cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Long Pond Sobeys grocery store Thursday.
“We’re looking forward to inviting everyone back into the new store,” said store manager Paul Heffernan. “We’re really glad they were patient with us while we navigated through this and we’re looking forward to bringing them back in to see that all this work over the last eight months has paid off.”
The renovations started shortly after Labour Day and crews have been going flat out ever since.
Heffernan admits it was challenging at times as both staff and customers had to navigate around active construction zones and an everchanging store geography, but the inconvenience was worth it.
“It’s a big transformation,” said Heffernan. “The last time the store was renovated was 2000-2001, so it’s been long overdue.”
The refurbished store boasts a new, enhanced deli and prepared meals section, including new toaster ovens and food offerings, and an enhanced seafood department.
The store is offering a greater variety of cheeses, produce and organic items.
Heffernan said staff are particularly excited about a new dry aged meat case that will dry meats over 58 days for exceptionally tender pieces of meat.
“We’re pretty excited about, it’s a great addition to the store,” said Heffernan. “It’s the first for a Sobeys in Newfoundland, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Heffernan, who is responsible for the total operation of the store, has served with Sobeys for 14 years.
“I started in the supermarket business a couple weeks after I turned 16 and the end of June will mark 43 years in the supermarket business,” said Heffernan, who is a popular figure with his customers. “It’s been a rewarding career… I’ve enjoyed the supermarket business and the life it offers… I really love the people-piece of the business. You’re always interacting with people, and every day is different. No two days are the same.”
Depending on the time of year, the store employs between 120 and 130 people, many from the immediate community.
“There’s some people here who have been here for 20 years,” said Heffernan. “We just had a lady retire a couple of years ago and she was pretty well here since the store opened in ’85, or shortly after that.”
Heffernan said that number of long-time employees is a good reflection of the business.
“They’re loyal, and we do our best to provide the atmosphere that people want to work in and stay in,” he said.
The grocery store is also heavily involved in the community and hosts an annual fundraiser for the CBS-Paradise Food Bank, as well as helping other community groups such as the Lions Club and Scouting groups.
The store also collects for the Janeway Children’s Hospital Telethon and supports the Special Olympics.

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