POQUOSON — The Farm Fresh grocery store in Poquoson reopened its doors Friday, April 1. Among the attendees was a woman who had been there from the beginning.
Delphine Deibel was among the first group of hires when the store first opened in 1980. She remembers when the store was just a parking lot with a trailer advertising a new grocery store coming.
“I was married and had three kids. We had moved to Poquoson in ’79, and I just got bored and thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to apply for this job,'” Deibel said.
The job would come to bring Deibel life-long friendships.
“It was such a great group of people,” she said. “We got paid to have fun. We have so many memories.”
Deibel worked at Poquoson Farm Fresh for 25 years before retiring. All three of her children also worked there when they were in high school.
Deibel, who now lives in Yorktown, said that she remembers when the store closed temporarily in 1998 only to reopen later that year after a remodeling, and when it closed its doors again in 2018.
“Oh we cried. It was so sad,” she said. “It was our home. We thought of it as home.”
The 30,000 square-foot store located at 460 Wythe Creek Rd. is operated by independent grocers Raphael Strumlauf and Mark Green, who currently run three other independent grocery stores in Virginia, including the Farm Fresh in Richmond, Crozet Market in Crozet, and Market Street Market in Charlottesville.
The store, which operates under the Farm Fresh name, has undergone improvements and renovations for its reopening.
The store held a grand reopening celebration, at which Deibel was given flowers and was able to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Poquoson Mayor Gordon Helsel, Jr. and city council were also in attendance.
Deibel is excited to reconnect with both former coworkers and customers who she has not seen since the store closed.
“You couldn’t get through the aisle, because everybody would congregate and just talk. It was a lot of friendly people,” she said. “I hope it stays that way with this new one.”