From the first moment of my visit with Nikki Emerson, the current but about to be, past, manager of Boothbay Harbor’s Hannaford store, I was quite surprised by her connection with the staff. From our greeting in the parking lot, through the produce section to the inner workings of the stocking area, she greeted workers by name and engaged in meaningful conversation. Not just “Hi, how are you?”, but personal discourse regarding their job, their family or some other inquiry of significance. It became very obvious to me that Nikki truly had genuine interest in her coworkers.
I’ve been trying to arrange a visit with Ms. Emerson for a long time but scheduling and distractions interrupted. Now, we met up just as she is about to become store manager at the new Cook’s Corner store in Brunswick, a significantly larger and more complex facility.
There will be new challenges. A pharmacy, “Hannaford to Go,” curbside pick up and delivery service and probably about twice the number and diversity of staff. But Nikki is excited for her new job with lots of varied experience from 18 years with Hannaford.
Nikki started with Hannaford right out of high school. She worked nights while enrolled in cosmetology school. Her part-time job helped to pay for school. However, she grew to prefer working with her new Hannaford family in the Harbor and began a committed dedicated career.
Nikki is a local Boothbay Harbor success story. She was born in Bethel, Maine, but moved to Boothbay with her father, Rob Emerson, in her junior year of high school. I’ve known her dad for some time through many jobs, from Dave’s AG, to Bo Brewer’s “Boothbay Fuel” and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. Dee Brewer, Nikki’s stepmom, was also very local and involved in all the family businesses. Nikki credits Dee as a good model for a mother’s ability to multi-task parenting and work, which Nikki appreciates as she raises her son Caleb.
Nikki is an active advocate for helping women succeed in the workplace. She is the Eastern Division lead for Hannaford’s “Women’s Business Resource Group,” which is a program dedicated to support and advancement of women’s careers and partnering with community businesses. She travels and addresses Hannaford-sponsored gatherings throughout Maine and the Northeast. Her commitment to helping women build confidence and successful careers has grown out of her own personal accomplishments. She told me more than once how the Hannaford family has helped her in many ways over the years.
When I mentioned Bob Hatem and Skip Bonham as people I have known at Hannaford she was quick to acknowledge how they helped and supported her over the years. Mr. Hatem, Director of Operations at Hannaford, picked up on Nikki’s people skills early in her career and encouraged new experiences for her and significant responsibilities. Skip Bonham, who was store manager at the Boothbay Harbor Hannaford (now at Food Lion in North Carolina) in Nikki’s early years, pushed her to take on new challenges at new locations.
She gained much experience and traveled to stores throughout Maine meeting new people, gaining experience and confidence. Hatem and Bonham’s support and encouragement have been so important – she has learned much about personnel and management through their examples.
I think Nikki has accomplished many things during her time at Hannaford, but I believe she will continue to advance with new experience and greater opportunity. It will be fun to watch how things go down the road. No matter where she goes or what she does, Nikki will endeavor to do her best and provide honorable service to the Hannaford company. Good luck Nikki.