MINEOLA — After more than four decades in the grocery business, Carroll Sandifer has a simple work philosophy.
“You show up every day and do your job,” he said.
Sandifer, 71, started working for Brookshire’s in Mineola in 1968. He had already been working at the store, Piggly Wiggly Grocery, in Mineola for four years when it was bought by Brookshire Grocery Co.
At Brookshire’s, he has been a stocker, grocery manager, perishable manager and produce manager. Now, his official title is grocery clerk.
“I do whatever they tell me to do,” he said.
Whether it is bagging up customer’s groceries, helping stock merchandise or helping out in the health and beauty care section of the store, he keeps himself busy.
Working 40 hours a week, Sandifer has no plans to retire.
“I’m going to work as long as I can,” he said while sitting in his favorite part of the store — the break room — on Tuesday.
“It’s been all right,” he said of working for Brookshire’s for 45 years. “It’s been good. They’ve been taking pretty good care of us.”
Kyle Jefferson, store director, said he always can count on Sandifer to help in whatever way is needed.
“Carroll is an awesome employee … he is well known and loved by customers throughout the community, and he’s well-respected by his co-workers,” Jefferson said in an email.
Sandifer’s favorite part of the job is being around people.
He said he has become friends with a lot of longtime customers and co-workers, and he said he enjoys meeting new people.
“There’s always someone new coming into the area,” he said. “I like to cut up and joke around (with customers.)”
Sandifer has worked in the grocery business nearly all of his life and said the biggest changes he has seen in the industry are how computers have made it easier to stock items, which no longer have to be individually labeled. They also don’t have to unload all of the delivery trucks by hand because they now have pallet jacks.
“The computer age has made it a lot easier,” he said.
Sandifer worked at the Quitman Brookshire’s store for a few years during his Brookshire’s career but the rest of the time he has stayed in Mineola.
He said the store serves people from Mineola, as well as surrounding towns, including Lindale, Grand Saline, Van, Quitman and Hawkins.
“A lot of people like coming here,” he said.
Jefferson said Sandifer is a staple in the Mineola community, and their store wouldn’t be the same without him.
“Carroll has been with Brookshire’s since before many of our other employees were born, so he brings his own unique set of experiences from his 45 years with the company. He’s honest and loyal, and he knows what it truly means to provide great customer service.”
When he’s not working, Sandifer likes to watch his grandchildren play football and baseball and he likes to watch television. He and his wife of 49 years, Judy, have two daughters, one son, two grandsons and one granddaughter.
Brookshire Grocery Co. recently honored 1,343 employees for Milestones in Service and Education at its annual employee recognition events in Bossier City, Louisiana, and Tyler.
Sandifer was one of about 530 employees honored at the event for their years of full-time service. For his 45 years at the company, he received an iPad.
“I’ve known Carroll for almost 30 years, and he is an all-around great person and employee,” Pete Leung, senior vice president – category management for Brookshire Grocery Co., said via email.
Leung worked with Sandifer when he served as senior vice president – division manager of Brookshire’s Western Division, which included the store in Mineola.
“Carroll is a rare find – it’s hard to find many people who can say they’ve worked for the same company for 45 years,” Leung said. “He’s seen many changes throughout his years with the company but has always remained true to the values our company was founded upon 86 years ago – honesty, integrity, loyalty and exceptional customer service. Longtime employees like Carroll are valuable assets to our company, as they bring a sense of loyalty and dedication that is hard to match.”
Sandifer said it was nice and unexpected to be honored by Brookshire’s.
“I wasn’t even keeping count,” he said, referring to the years he has worked there.