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WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Just like all the families awake early on Christmas morning to see what St. Nick left for them under their tree, one senior vice president at QuickChek Corp. was up bright and early serving coffee.
Mike Murphy, senior vice president at the convenience store chain, continued his Christmas tradition of working in a QuickChek for the 41st consecutive year. This year, he punched his card at the company's Fairfield, N.J., location.
"If I’m going to have people work that day, then I've always felt I should be there, too," said Murphy, who is based out of QuickChek's support center in Whitehouse Station. "I work in different stores every year doing what I can to help out."
Murphy worked in the Fairfield store at 384 Passaic Ave. from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, serving up the hugely popular "Kris Kringle" flavored coffee. He also handled other responsibilities like cleaning the store and mopping up after a customer's coffee spill.
"Whatever the store leader needs me to do, I’ll do," he said.
His boss that morning: his son Matt. "He wants me because I'm free help for the day," Murphy said with a laugh.
Like most of the company's vice presidents, Murphy began his career working in a local store. He notes that the first thing consumers want on Christmas is their morning coffee, followed by more batteries.
Over the past few years he has seen an increase in the sales of QuickChek's signature bakery products from their in-store ovens, freshly made breakfast sandwiches to go and handcrafted drinks.
"We have customers who come into stores in their pajamas, which is fitting as we've been their neighborhood shopping destination all year long," he commented.
Among the convenience items that customers come to QuickChek for that they may not be able to get elsewhere on Christmas Day is gas, a must for those who need to fill up during their holiday travels.
"Our company has been built on total customer dedication, it's something we live 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," Murphy said. "It's the nature of the times we live in. Customer lifestyles change. We have to be there to meet their needs."
Most of the company's 147 store were open Christmas Eve until 10:30 p.m. and then re-opened Christmas Day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Most of the company's team members' shifts were limited to four hours on Christmas with those working receiving additional pay, according to the retailer.
Except for the guy in the Santa hat serving coffee in the morning in Fairfield.
Whitehouse Station-based QuickChek operates 147 convenience stores throughout New York's Hudson Valley, New Jersey and Long Island.