Manager Browning shares history with McQuade's
Last Saturday, Maurice Browning, the general manager of McQuade's Marketplace, was found in the stockroom loading water, sausages, veggie burgers, and other food supplies to send over to Dutra Farm for Heyday. He took a few minutes out of his busy morning to chat about his job and his long history with the locally loved grocery store.
Browning has worked as the full-time manager at McQuade's in Jamestown for about a year, but he is no stranger to the supermarket chain. He was hired at the original Westerly branch by the founder of the store when he was a teenager. It was his first job.
Ed and Arthur McQuade started out with a produce stand in Providence in the '50s, Browning recalled. About 10 years later, they opened their first market in Westerly, and Ed, the elder McQuade, hired Browning a few years later. "I started in 1967, and worked there through high school and college," he noted.
Browning earned a college degree as an engineer, and left McQuade's to work in the engineering industry for about 28 years. He returned to McQuade's in Mystic, Conn., 12 years ago as a manager. "I miss the hours of engineering, now that I put in time on weekends. But I work more closely with people on a daily basis, and that's nice," Browning said.
Ed McQuade bought the store on Southwest Avenue in the '80s, and endured a fire in the building about five years ago, according to Browning. After the fire, the manager started spreading his time between Mystic and Jamestown to help with renovations and the day-to-day business. "We got the store opened quickly to service customers," he said.
Browning was happy to lend his engineering expertise to the rebuilding process. "We added a 150by 50-foot. addition," he said.
Browning drives 35 miles from his home in North Stonington, Conn., every morning, and he said the commute is worth it. "A small town with a big town personality" is how he describes Jamestown. "I love the store, and the associates I work with," Browning said. "Because the store here is smaller, the employees are closer and friendlier with each other than in the other two branches in Westerly and Mystic," he added, giving much credit to the hard-working employees.
"More people have more responsibilities here, and the staff is closer-knit," he noted.
The store manager also noted changes to the store since he began working here, and talked about the ever increasing success of the store. Although the market's deli has always made salads on the premises, "We also now sell prepared foods made in the Mystic store. The rotisserie chicken plan is selling well, too," Browning said. He brought in a salad bar last June, he added
On a personal note, Browning said that his favorite way to spend free time is with his family. He has "a daughter and a granddaughter, and two sons." One son is in college, and the other son, his youngest, is in fourth grade. "Quite a wide age span," he said with a smile.