If you’re looking for someone to give you the motivation to chase your dreams, look no further than Jessica Newman, a Cheektowaga woman who is the utmost example of working your way from the bottom all the way to the top.
“I come from a family with very little money and if there’s anything I’ve learned in my years it is that with hard work and determination you will get where you want to be. I’ve never known any other way.”
Newman began working as a cashier at the young age of 16 at Save-A-Lot. When she graduated high school, she decided to attend college and pursue a business administration degree while working in the produce department and became an assistant manager. She was then promoted to store manager of the busiest Save-A-Lot location and a few years later, ran the new West Seneca location. Newman proved herself to be such an asset to the company that she was then promoted to district manager, overseeing and traveling to all Save-A-Lot locations in Western New York.
“It was a great experience because I was helping to open brand new stores and train staff and get the stores on their feet. I learned so much,” said Newman.
Fast forward a few years later, and the owners of the Save-A-Lot franchise, Mike Horrigan and Suzanne Schmitz, made Newman an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“Suzanne decided to pursue a new store in North Tonawanda and offered me a stake in it. It was sort of amazing because I’ve wanted this for a really long time and she offered me part ownership and I accepted and I’m just so grateful because it just goes to show that my hard work and determination and sticking it through paid off.”
Suzanne said it was a no-brainer to offer Newman part ownership as she has been an incredible employee and friend.
“Jessica is one of the hardest working and most dedicated people you will ever meet,” said Suzanne. “We are very similar in that we are both very career-focused, so we relate really well and have built a fantastic working relationship. Working with her is effortless, we read each other’s minds and are just on the same wavelength. Even though she has worked for me for many years, we’re really just good friends and a team, as opposed to a boss and employee. I haven’t opened a new store since 2014, so I’m glad this new store opportunity came along now and I was able to include her in the ownership of it.”
So what advice does Newman have for those who wish to pursue their dreams?
“I’d just say never give up. I wouldn’t have the things I have now if I wasn’t so determined to get there and I hope down the line I can repay someone the same way Mike and Suzanne have taken care of me. I’m super grateful.”
Save-A-Lot will officially open its newest location 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 2 at 1365 Nash Road, North Tonawanda.