DENVILLE, NJ – Foodtown of Denville officially closed its doors at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15. Hundreds of community members, town officials and current and former employees gathered in the intermittent rain to bid their final farewells. Having owned and operated the store for 125 years, members of the Dickerson family’s third, fourth, fifth and sixth generations were on hand to greet and accept well wishes from members of the Denville and Mt. Tabor communities.
After heartfelt remarks from Denville Mayor Thomas Andes, current Foodtown owner and manager Jeff Dickerson shared with the crowd that competition from larger regional grocers and the internet led his family to the difficult decision to close the store permanently. “Times change. So, you have to change with the times,” he said.
Dickerson’s father, Ron Dickerson, who had been partially retired from the business and will be celebrating his 85th birthday in October, let everyone know that he was pleased and proud to be a part of the community. Earlier he shared that he would miss the comradery. “Foodtown is more than a job. It is an extended family. The employees are wonderful.”
Ron and his wife Marie live in Mt. Tabor and have one son, two daughters, nine granddaughters and two great grandsons. In addition to Jeff, Ron and Marie, the following family members attended the going-away party: Denise Bessemer, Ron and Marie’s eldest daughter; Sharon Dickerson, Jeff’s wife; Taylor Dickerson, Jeff’s oldest daughter; and one of Ron and Marie’s granddaughters and great grandsons. Although Ron’s daughter, Lisa Cunningham, and Jeff’s daughters, Morgan and Carly Dickerson, were unable to attend the gathering in person, Morgan was able to witness everything thanks to FaceTime.
Even though he is moving on from Foodtown, Jeff reassured everybody that he and Sharon were not leaving town. They would continue to pitch in and help the community. Marie said she and Ron would “enjoy the great grandbabies and travel.”
After the formal remarks, members of Girls Scout troop 6282 kicked off the festivities by serving slices of cake to the guests of honor. Those in attendance then lined up to shake hands and say so long.
A staple in the community, Foodtown employed 25 people. Most worked part-time, and about 10 were high school students. The store was a reliable supporter of numerous charitable endeavors.
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