EAGLE FOOD

Former Eagle employees catch up, remember

2013-09-23T05:00:00Z 2013-09-23T16:34:54Z Former Eagle employees catch up, rememberLinda Cook newsroom@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times
September 23, 2013 5:00 am  • 

Ten years ago, Eagle Food Center worked together to create customer satisfaction, then wept over the loss of their jobs and finally said goodbye to a company they had loved.

They still consider each other as family, so it's small wonder that Sunday's picnic reunion at Indian Bluff Forest Preserve in Milan had a family atmosphere that ranged from laughter to tears. Old friends gathered to catch up and reminisce about the Quad-City-based Midwest grocery store chain that closed in 2003.

Employees from various departments and positions were delighted to see each other and enjoy a picnic and golf outing.

“It’s a chance to get together and catch up,” said Dave Miller, now a family service counselor at Dignity Memorial Funeral Homes, Davenport. Miller, a former bakery director, left the Eagle company about seven years before it closed. Others at the picnic, he said, “were there at the bitter end.”

That bitter end — the beginning of the closure of Eagle stores — brings tears to the eyes of former employees who still grieve at the thought of losing their jobs.

Al Larson, of Rock Island, remembers that his last day in the advertising department at Eagle was “Pearl Harbor Day, 1993. We were the beginning of the end,” he said. “On Dec. 7, they called us into the cafeteria and told us we were done. While that was happening, the department heads were telling everyone else. My wife worked in the meat department, and she freaked.”

Larson remembers that the employees were told to collect their belongings in boxes that had been placed beside their desks, “and they had security watching us.” His eyes moistened as he remembered.

Larson had a job the next day at Graphic Image, Davenport. “Eagle was our client,” he said. He then went to Brandt Co., where he has worked for 16 years.

“I’ve never been unemployed since 1974,” he said. “I started working at Eagle when I was 16.”

Joanne Larson, Al Larson's wife, was a buyer’s clerk in the meat department at Eagle. “There were 11 of us in August of ’95 who got it that day,” she said. “All spectrums, all ages, all different numbers of years of service. It was all-encompassing. Everybody was blind-sided.”

Now a visitors’ associate at The Putnam Museum, Davenport, Larson worked part-time at Younkers until her unemployment ran out, then Younkers hired her full-time.

“We all knew it was coming,” said Roxie McKamey, of Bettendorf. “I just didn’t know the date.”

She worked in several facets of the company during her years at Eagle. “I miss all my friends,” McKamey said. “It was a good place to work …. I love all these guys. We all took care of each other.”

She remembers that each department “adopted” an Eagle family who needed some financial assistance during the holidays. She, too, attended college, and graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average with an associate's degree from Scott Community College. She is unable to work now because of her health.

"A lot of us did that (returned to school)," said Carol Yodts, who now works for Avadyne Health in Moline. She was out of work for six months before she finished her associate's degree at Black Hawk College.

Joyce Ford, of Rock Island, was a floater in the warehouse accounting department. “There was so much vacation in the department I never lacked for anything to do,” she said. “I had only been there 16 years, compared to people who had been there 25 and 30 years.”

Now she works in the customer service department at Carlin Automation in Rock Island, where she has been employed for more than nine years.

The first picnic was held six years ago, said Janine Moffitt, of Rock Island, who organized the event with Yodts and Nancy Harris, both of Rock Island. “Once a month, there’s a group of us girls that still get together for lunch,” Moffitt said. The smaller group thought it would be nice to include other former Eagle employees, and that’s how the first picnic was developed.

At the picnics, “We have a really good time,” Harris said. “We’re all from different departments. It was a big family. I would go back today if I could,” said Harris, who was a buyer’s clerk in the grocery department.

Moffitt, who was with Eagle for 33 years, worked in marketing support with “the saver’s card and promotions,” she said. “They didn’t let everybody go at the same time,” she said.

“There was like nine of us that got let go at once,” Harris said. All nine were called into a room where administrators told them they had lost their jobs. “We had to go back to our desks and get our purses … it was awful,” she remembered. “We were crying.”

Moffitt, who now works for the Rock Island County Clerk’s office, said a group of former employees began meeting once a week for lunch, asking others who joined the group, “Have you heard anything?” When she first was offered what became her new position, she shared the good news with her lunch group. “One of the girls said, ‘How much does it pay?’ And I said I didn’t know. All I cared about was that I had a job with benefits.”

Copyright 2016 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. DarwinsMyth
    Report Abuse
    DarwinsMyth - October 09, 2015 9:21 am
    You're so right. If only Eagle was able to make the grocery stores non-union, just like Hy-vee Foods. I can remember walking into the Eagle Foods store in Milan, and there were probably 5 or so, employees working, while the Hy-vee store across the street had at least 20 employees working. Unions are good up to a point. After that, there is too much greed, and greed comes before a fall. Even our state governments are being affected (or infected) by the unions, where schools are getting less funding because the unions and its greedy members are getting the tax dollars instead.
  2. DarwinsMyth
    Report Abuse
    DarwinsMyth - October 09, 2015 9:00 am
    I saw the writing on the wall, at least 10 years before they forced me out the door in Sept. 2003. There is "writing-on-the-wall" for many things in our lives, if only we would become more alert... we would then, be able to be more prepared and less surprised when they do happen. For example... Political Correctness today, is conditioning our minds to ignore many things that we should not ignore... like, Islam having over 2100 mosques in the U.S. and growing at an alarming rate, while our own government tells us, Islam is a peaceful religion. If you believe that, then I have some beach front property to sell you in Iran. Sorry, I got off subject, but we wouldn't be so surprised when certain bad things happen in our lives, if we would pay attention to our surroundings, and stop pretending that everything will get better. There's a saying... hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. One of the things I'm hoping for, is this, that everyone I worked with at the warehouse is doing well.
  3. Shef
    Report Abuse
    Shef - September 23, 2013 1:57 pm
    The union shut Eagle down. It was too hard for them to keep their prices competitive when they were paying inflated wages for unskilled labor like stock boys and bag boys.
  4. Klaatu
    Report Abuse
    Klaatu - September 23, 2013 11:20 am
    The grocery business is unbelievably competitive. We once had Geifman's here too. Yeah, it's easy to start the "soulless bags of greed" cra*, but they couldn't make a profit. Would you pay more to keep them open? No, you do like everyone else, you go for the best deal. Publicly owned businesses have to return a profit margin that attracts investors. If they aren't efficiently operated they disappear. That is the truth, it isn't corporate greed. Corporations are owned by stockholders who depend on their investment income. Many of them are older people and pension plans. It is it evil for YOUR pension plan to earn a return and make your pension secure? Longjohn, you may not be soulless but you probably are clueless.
  5. PainfullTruth
    Report Abuse
    PainfullTruth - September 23, 2013 11:14 am
    If the employees of Eagle didn't see the handwriting on the wall then they aren't very bright. Like stated by snowman, they downward slide of Eagles wasn't a sudden process. It happened over several months and the union had several meetings discussing their options with their union members. To say today that they were caught off guard is flat out wrong.
  6. snowman05
    Report Abuse
    snowman05 - September 23, 2013 9:10 am
    Their stick price fell to $.05/ share, and was there a long time. Stores were closing left and right. It wasn't like the handwriting wasn't on the wall little John. Hyvee was growing in this market and they were losing in other markets. What else did they need? You really slow!?
  7. jodiboyd
    Report Abuse
    jodiboyd - September 23, 2013 12:09 am
    Interesting how these super market(s) thrived and expanded for almost 100-years,
    then imploded 16-years after being sold out to Odyssey Partners, a New York investment firm.

  8. longjohn412
    Report Abuse
    longjohn412 - September 22, 2013 10:40 pm
    Notice how jerk offs in (Mis)Management don't even have the Common Decency to give their long time employees so much as a head up they aren't going to have a way to feed their families anymore?

    A week or two heads up could have saved dozens of people a lot of suffering and pain ....

    Nothing but Soulless Bags of Greed
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Mayor, aldermen grapple with fire cuts

Mayor, aldermen grapple with fire cuts

Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch's response to simmering frustrations over fire department staffing levels that were expressed to him and alderme…

2 hours ago(5)

Space heater caused Rock Island fire, survivor says

Space heater caused Rock Island fire, survivor says

Valencia Henderson said she is taking life one day at a time after escaping a fire that tore through her Rock Island home Saturday afternoon.

2 hours ago Photos

Photos

(0)

Obama built bipartisan reputation in Illinois Senate

Obama built bipartisan reputation in Illinois Senate

SPRINGFIELD — Given the deep partisan divisions that have characterized his presidency, it strikes some as odd that Barack Obama is returning …

8 hours ago Photos

Photos

(3)

Caucuses, reliant on volunteers, succeed despite challenges

Caucuses, reliant on volunteers, succeed despite challenges

CEDAR RAPIDS — Planning for the Iowa caucuses can be like preparing for a winter storm not knowing whether it will be ice or snow or how much …

8 hours ago Photos

Photos

(0)

High school robotics teams compete

High school robotics teams compete

 Davenport West High School freshmen Brandon Seamer, Zack Drumm and twins Ethan and Ben Gabriel watched Friday night as the robot they designe…

14 hours ago Photos

Photos

(0)

Fat-tire bikers dig in on Credit Island

Fat-tire bikers dig in on Credit Island

Ripping over the torn ground, mud splattering their day-glo outfits, nearly  100 bikers rode into Davenport’s Credit Island Park on Saturday a…

16 hours ago Photos

Photos

(0)

Bettendorf expo makes science exciting

Bettendorf expo makes science exciting

Adelaide Rhodes crawled through a colorful play tunnel that simulated the human outer ear — complete with a sheet of bubble wrap covering the …

19 hours ago Photos

Photos

(0)

'Operation Methed Up' nets 46

'Operation Methed Up' nets 46

It started in August with a tip about a possible methamphetamine lab in a Davenport trailer park.

19 hours ago Photos

Photos

(9)

Gaul, Cullen honored with Iowa journalism awards

Gaul, Cullen honored with Iowa journalism awards

Quad-City Times reporters Alma Gaul and Jack Cullen were recognized by their peers on Friday when representatives of Iowa’s daily and weekly n…

February 05, 2016 8:00 pm Photos

Photos

(0)

8 things to know about Davenport's $201.7 million budget

8 things to know about Davenport's $201.7 million budget

Davenport city leaders are looking to pull a few more dollars out of the pockets of property owners and residents as it seeks to raise fees in…

February 05, 2016 7:00 pm Photos

Photos

(8)

Home show opens weekend run in RI

Home show opens weekend run in RI

The 39th annual Quad-Cities Builders and Remodelers Association Home Show offers just about everything you would need for your home and yard.

February 05, 2016 6:21 pm Photos

Photos

(0)

Audit identifies spending issues in Davenport fire accounts

Audit identifies spending issues in Davenport fire accounts

The Iowa state Auditor's Office said Friday it has identified more than $4,000 in improper or undocumented spending between 2009 and 2014 in t…

February 05, 2016 5:45 pm(0)

Scattered flurries and a low of 24

Scattered flurries and a low of 24

Good evening, Quad-Cities. Here is your National Weather Service forecast.

February 05, 2016 5:00 pm Video Related (0)

Clinton sheriff to run for re-election

Clinton sheriff to run for re-election

CLINTON, Iowa — Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln has announced he will seek a fifth term as sheriff.

February 05, 2016 4:55 pm(0)

Party insider: Dems should consider GOP-style voting

Party insider: Dems should consider GOP-style voting

DES MOINES — Iowa Democrats should consider altering their presidential precinct caucus procedures to look more like the vote conducted by Rep…

February 05, 2016 3:30 pm(1)

Drivers in fatal drag race crash plead guilty

Drivers in fatal drag race crash plead guilty

A Carbon Cliff teen and Davenport man have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a double-fatal crash in October.

February 05, 2016 2:30 pm(1)

New Q-C website promotes trail exploration

New Q-C website promotes trail exploration

Before October, Lisa Miller hadn’t hopped on her bicycle for an extended cruise for about a decade.

February 05, 2016 2:00 pm Photos

Photos

(1)

On Iowa Politics: A caucus wrap-up

On Iowa Politics: A caucus wrap-up

This week on the podcast, reporters talk who won the Democratic caucuses, should there be a GOP do-over and if Iowa will hold its first-in-the…

February 05, 2016 2:00 pm Related (0)

Mayor Klipsch's 5 issues in 30 days

Mayor Klipsch's 5 issues in 30 days

Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch used his first-ever mayoral briefing Friday to update the community on five of the issues he has dealt with in h…

February 05, 2016 2:00 pm(10)

Google finds star doodler in PV second-grade classroom

Google finds star doodler in PV second-grade classroom

When Shalini Chandupatla was just a toddler, she started to doodle. And doodle.

February 05, 2016 2:00 pm Photos

Photos

(2)