The City of Elizabeth Renames Street “Joe Sheridan Way” in Honor of Retiring Wakefern Food Corp. President
Keasbey, NJ (October 27, 2023) – Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned supermarket cooperative in the United States with banners that include ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Gourmet Garage, Fairway Market and Dearborn Market, today announced that the City of Elizabeth has renamed York Street “Joe Sheridan Way” in honor of longtime Wakefern President Joe Sheridan. Sheridan will retire in December after nearly five decades with the company. Mike Stigers, a supermarket industry veteran, joined Wakefern in June as the new president.
Local leaders including Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, City Council President Frank Mazza and Councilman-at-Large Manny Grova, Jr. joined Wakefern representatives for a dedication and street sign unveiling ceremony Oct. 24. The event, which took place outside the Elizabeth Grocery Distribution Center on York Street, recognized Sheridan for his decades of commitment not only to the cooperative, but also to his hometown of Elizabeth and the many communities served by Wakefern’s supermarkets and distribution centers. Sheridan started his career as a selector in the Elizabeth warehouse in 1976 and rose through the ranks to become president of the company in 2011.
Mayor Bollwage said he was proud to dedicate the street to Sheridan, a homegrown kid who rose to the highest levels of his profession, and thankful for the Elizabeth native’s work over the years to make sure that Wakefern remained a New Jersey-based business with a strong presence in the city.
“The City of Elizabeth thanks Joe Sheridan for his efforts leading Wakefern, creating jobs and providing quality food products for our residents,” said Bollwage.
“Joe eventually rose to the role of President of Wakefern in 2011, and led what is now a $19.6 billion dollar cooperative with his signature grit and determination – and with his deep sense of pride in his Elizabeth roots,” said new Wakefern President Mike Stigers. “Few demonstrate a stronger love for their company – and their community – than Joe.”
Sheridan was born and raised in Elizabeth and began his career at Wakefern’s Elizabeth warehouse more than 47 years ago. After graduating from Kean University in 1980, he was promoted to category manager and his passion for the business ignited. Sheridan worked over the decades with the cooperative’s Member family-owned businesses and in many different parts of the company including logistics, finance, procurement and management in Grocery, Bakery, Health and Beauty Care, and Pharmacy divisions. In 1991, he was promoted to vice president of Direct Store Delivery and the following year to vice president of Health and Beauty Care (HBC), Non-Foods and Pharmacy. He was named senior vice president of Marketing in 1994 and executive vice president in 1996. In 2011, he was promoted to the role of Wakefern president.
During his time as vice president and president, Wakefern added four new retail banners and 93 stores, and launched one of the grocery industry’s earliest online shopping platforms in 2002, known today as Order.Pickup.Deliver. He oversaw significant investments to optimize retail and warehouse operations and launched Wakefern’s award-winning Bowl & Basket, Wholesome Pantry and Paperbird private label lines.
Sheridan also led the way in corporate social responsibility, with Wakefern’s commitment to community deepening and flourishing at his direction. More than $62 million has been donated through ShopRite Partners In Caring to hunger fighting organizations over the last 24 years. Sheridan is also a regular volunteer each year at the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games, where he volunteers alongside other Wakefern associates to prepare and serve meals to thousands of athletes and their families. He is a past board member of the Embrace Kids Foundation and a supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 2016, Joe was recognized as a ‘Pink Tie Guy’ for partnering with Komen North Jersey in the fight against breast cancer.
An industry leader, Sheridan has also served with a variety of supermarket and retail trade organizations over the years including the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Board of Directors and the Board of Governors for the GS1 US, a nonprofit organization that designs and manages a global system of supply chain standards. He is also a past chairman of the National Grocers Association (NGA), a trade association representing independent retail and wholesale grocers. In 2012, the Grocery Manufacturers Association presented Joe with its Industry Collaboration Leadership Award and in 2014 he received the New Jersey Food Council’s Industry Achievement Award. FMI recognized Sheridan earlier this year with the Sidney R. Rabb Award for Statesmanship.
“I’ve been blessed to be around great people for a great career,” Sheridan said at the unveiling ceremony Tuesday. “As a native son of Elizabeth, I just want to say, thank you. I truly appreciate and I am honored by this tribute.”
About Wakefern Food Corp.
From a small, local cooperative that began with eight grocery store owners, Wakefern Food Corp. has grown into the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Founded in 1946, the cooperative comprises nearly 50 member families who today independently own and operate 365 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, the Wakefern cooperative has nearly 80,000 team members and is one of the largest employers in New Jersey. For more information, please visit www.wakefern.com