Organizing the first formal Boardman location Jewel Mart reunion, Josie Homsey, with assistance from Mary Morchak, put smiles of recognition and friendship on the faces of 38 former Boardman Jewel Mart employees, with four spouses added to the mix in attendance.
“Our reunion last night was wonderful,” said Homsey, who said that as coworkers, the group got together regularly, and spouses were always included. “Many marriages came out of there,” said Homsey, remarking about her own to Mike Homsey.
The reunion was full of fun and surprises as well as hearing about deceased friends from the former Boardman store.
“One of our guests was the daughter of a former employee who just passed away,” she said, adding that everyone shared stories of her mom’s Jewel Mart days with her. “She told me she learned so many things that her mom did.”
It was bittersweet as she said she only wished she could share the memories with her.
The reunion was held on Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Pacentrano Club, the reunion brought former employees from Richmond, Va., Pittsburgh, and Toledo.
“We spent many months researching and locating former employees,” said Homsey, citing mail, email, newspaper ads, Facebook and blogs as sources.
According to Homsey, the Boardman location was one of Jewel Mart’s four stores; with one in Youngstown, and the remaining two in the Akron area, where the company housed its main office. The Boardman location opened in 1977 and all four locations closed their doors in 1991. Keeping the gate open on the workplace friendships they’d formed, the group has gathered twice since then.
“The last time we met was 16 years ago,” said Homsey. “This latest event started with a lot of hugs, and endless picture taking. The evening ended the same way.”
She added that while gathering for a group photo, attendees noted that “Glory Days” played in the background, a moment on irony not lost on the friends.
Homsey said addresses have been compiled, and there are plans for a possible website to keep the group united. She said it is an option that would also encourage additional former employees whom they hadn’t located to learn about future gatherings.
In today’s ever-busier work climate, the dedication to remain in touch with one another among this close-knit group of former coworkers may be as rare as the inventory of their former workplace.
With her first attempt at reuniting the friends a success, Homsey shared that the evening closed to the recurring sound of “When are we doing this again?”
“What a special evening it was,” she said.
Photos by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier
Former Boardman Jewel Mart store managers Ed Reflogle, Mike Homsey and Mark Politsky catch up on old times.