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Foodtown in Hewlett's happy worker

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When most people are in their mid-60s, retirement is more likely on the horizon. Joanne Martino is just looking to keep on working and keeping a smile on her face.

Martino, 65, has worked at the Foodtown in Hewlett since 2015. The lifetime Rosedale, Queens resident works in the store’s meat department. She has been a butcher for more than 40 years. “My uncle and cousin worked as butchers and it seemed like a cool thing to do at the time,” she said. “Here I am over 40 years later still doing it.” Martino commutes to work by Long Island Rail Road every day.

She came to Foodtown after working at the now closed Key Food supermarket in Woodmere. “With Key Food closing, I needed another job,” Martino said. “Luckily there was an opening here at Foodtown.” An average work week for Martino is six days, from 7 a.m. to  around 3 p.m.

New Horizon Counseling Center Community Relations Coordinator Audrey Goodman always notices Martino smiling while she shops at Foodtown. “I think she is special,” Goodman said. “She is always working hard and always has a smile on her face. It’s always so nice to stop and chat with her.” 

Martino’s Foodtown department manager is Charlie Lambraia, who said he appreciates her positive attitude. “In the near 30 years I’ve known Joanne, she’s never changed,” he said. “She’s great with customers since she knows a lot about our products and is always a joy to be around.” Lambraia added that he worked with Martino at Key Food. “I’ve never seen her unhappy,” he said. “She’s just a fantastic person.” 

For Martino, having a positive attitude is not difficult to maintain, while in the store, since her favorite part about working is interacting with customers. “The customers are really great here and it’s nice getting to know all of them on a first name basis,” she said. “Being happy helps you get through the day better. It’s also good for business when your positive as it gets the customers to keep coming back to the store.” 

When Martino is not working, she spends time with her family that includes five nephews and three nieces. She also loves reading mystery books. Her favorite author is Mary Higgins Clark. When it comes to retirement, she does not have a set date in mind. “The two things that keep me going is faith and family,” she said. “I just take things one day at a time while having a positive attitude.”