John Adams, manager of prepared foods at Weavers Way in Chestnut Hill, said, "Before the pandemic, I always said Weavers Way does have the most appreciative customer/member base I’ve experienced …
by Len Lear
How does John Adams, prepared foods manager at the Weavers Way store in Chestnut Hill, feel about the fact that many people now think grocery store and supermarket employees are heroes, something that no one probably ever said before the pandemic?
“It’s definitely not something I thought I’d be referred to in this line of work,” he told us last week, “but it’s nice to be appreciated, especially in customer service, where sometimes it’s hard to find. Before the pandemic, though, I always said Weavers Way does have the most appreciative customer/member base I’ve experienced in my career.
“Personally I’ve never thought of myself as less or more than the person next to me, and I will continue to do so as long as we, and all food service establishments, help out their community by doing what we do best, which is feeding people. I think it helps keep everyone somewhat grounded with some sort of 'normalcy' in such a strange time. We all win a little bit.”
Adams, 35, who was born just outside of Columbus, Ohio, was brought here when he was just 5 by his family when his father got a job in Delaware County. In high school John worked as a sandwich maker at a small market, 320 Market Cafe, specializing in prepared foods in Delco.
He gradually got more responsibility there, eventually becoming head chef and helping to open a second and a third location for the company. After 10 years there, he moved on to the prepared foods department at the Swarthmore Co-op and landed at Weavers Way less than a year later.
Also, John continued his culinary education at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in University City, graduating with an associate's degree in 2009. He now works at least 40 hours a week, sometimes more, and does some of the prepared foods cooking. He cooks at home, also.
“Right now our sales seem to be trending toward more full-meal friendly items like crab cakes, salmon filet, eggplant and chicken parm, pot pies and chicken tenders,” said Adams. “We are doing things like brown butter salmon with lemon rice and haricots vert (green beans) and mushroom risotto cakes with grilled asparagus and roasted butternut squash.” (We have eaten the crab cakes, eggplant parm and risotto cakes twice recently, and they are simply wonderful and very reasonably priced.)
Adams now lives in Ridley Township with his wife, Melissa, a paralegal who splits her time working at home and in the office; son Brayden, 10, and daughter Rosie, 2.
How has Adams' life changed since the pandemic hit? “I would say just as much as the average person. I am able to spend more time with my wife and children, going on more walks, hiking in nature, staying at home relaxing, being able to do some more work at home and actually having conversations with people that aren’t just entertainment-based — sports, movies, politics, etc. I try to keep my mindset in the positive as much as possible.”
Before the pandemic, most of Adams' free time was spent at friends' and family events, He was in a spring/summer softball league for the last 12 years, which has been postponed, and “whatever sports or practice my son needed to get to (sometimes coaching), some occasional restaurant dining with my family and never-ending chores, which I wish I could social-distance from!”
As one might expect, Adams also likes to watch TV cooking shows such as “Chef with Jon Favreau” and the baking show, “Nailed it,” adding that “Ever since 'Game of Thrones' let down, I have been sticking to some old favorites such as 'The Office,' 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Seinfeld.' They will get you laughing, no matter how many times you’ve seen the episodes.”
When asked about the best advice he has ever received, Adams replied, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
And when asked what person in history he would most like to meet and spend time with, he answered, “There’s a lot you could choose from. However, I think meeting Leonardo DaVinci would be a pretty neat experience. He was a very intelligent person, and I think having some long conversations with him would be eye-opening.”
For more information, visit weaversway.coop. Karen Plourde contributed to this article. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org