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ITHACA, NY — Shortstop Deli never closes. That means the work is never done, a charge taken very seriously by the owners and staff alike, both former and current.
Our profile here on The Ithaca Voice details the biggest transition in the history of our establishment, the founders Albert and Cindy Smith handing over their baby to their long time store manager Chuck Dong.
Walking into work last summer to learn they had announced their retirement was almost surreal. It took them about 30 years just to take a much-needed and very-much-deserved vacation. Obviously, we were all shocked, but very happy for them. The community bears witness to the fact that these two never stopped working.
You could catch Albert there at 5:30 in the morning to get a jump on the day, hopping on the register if the crew was struggling, climbing ladders and filling orders, and Cindy stretching the morning bread, brewing coffees and doing dishes, all up to their last days with us.
In the blizzard of ’94, Albert walked down to serve coffee during a state of emergency. Hanging on the counter mirror is an article featuring our new store manager, Kyle Butler, during a power outage in 2000. He is making sandwiches by flashlight. During a fire in 2010, Albert and Kyle blocked the doors to ensure the safety of the customers for about five minutes, and then it was on with the show.
These snapshots of a few small moments in our almost 40 year history can’t begin to capture the dedication of these people and the essence of what they’ve built together. The environment is supportive and ever changing.
We encourage the growth of the staff as individuals, not just as employees, with so many of us happily giving up personal time and resources to meet the needs of our fellow crew members, as a second family should.
Inspired by the intense commitment of our leadership through the years, we attempt to filter that support and good will into the community by providing aid to organizations like Greater Ithaca Activities Center and The Learning Web, the Ithaca School District and countless other social and educational programs as well as many cultural and athletic organizations.
We promise to continue to grow and adapt, and we hope Albert and Cindy can rest easy in retirement with the confidence that they have cultivated a strong and trustworthy leadership to carry on with their mission to provide for the community, to give people an opportunity to create a better life for themselves, to be a second home for the crew and the customers, and mostly, to be the kind of deli that makes great subs the way you want them!
Circle it! Write it in! Tell the crew! Rack seven of those up on your MVP card and we’ll give you your sub the way you want it for free!
Thank you, Ithaca, for so many successful years. See you soon.
Submitted by a Shortstop Staff Member