DELMONT (KDKA) — “Good morning. How are you?”
It’s a friendly greeting from the man bagging groceries at Delmont Shop ‘N Save, who also happens to be the borough mayor. Gill Sanchez works this shift for two hours, every Thursday.
It’s a means at connecting with constituents who might be intimidated by a visit to the Borough Building.
“People have a chance to at least say what they have to say and ask questions,” he explains, “and not have to worry about being in front of a council, or in a public setting.”
A professional artist who lived three decades in Manhattan and Philadelphia, Sanchez went house hunting in Delmont with his wife, who is a native of our area.
“Everyone who walked by or drove by was waving,” he recalls. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, this is nice.’ So before we walked into the house, we were kind of sold on the area.”
The mayor’s presence helps boost the supermarket, which recently re-opened after a two-year shutdown.
He even convinced Shop ‘N Save employee Alyce Urban to run for, and win, a seat on borough council. She has a built in constituency.
“They come through your line on a weekly basis,” she says, “so at that point, you kind of get to know them by their first names. And they really like that.”
The mayor of Delmont meets more voters over grocery bags than he ever would at the Borough Building. But he stops short of saying re-election is in the bag. Do customers ever think the bagger should be sacked?
“Someone stopped and said, ‘Can you hurry up, I’m in a hurry!'” he says. “I was taken aback. She got embarrassed afterward, as soon as she found out it was the mayor bagging for her.”