Bonica balances work with life as assistant manager at Market Basket


Provided by TJ Bonica

Bonica in action at Market Basket.

Isabella Hesse, Staff Writer

The aisles of Market Basket are bustling with activity early on a Saturday morning as people meander the store, buying their groceries for the week. Cashiers line the front of the store scanning items, and grocery workers direct customers to items they can’t find. What many people don’t realize, however, is the amount of work it takes to keep such an establishment running smoothly. Amidst this chaos, stands senior TJ Bonica, directing dozens of employees to their stations.

Only a few students get a job early in high school and advance to a managerial position as they get older. Bonica, an assistant manager at the store, is one of those students.

Bonica started as a bagger at the Market Basket in Westford in late 2020, before being moved up to cashiering, and is currently an assistant manager at the establishment. He has held this position since the summer of 2021.

“I got promoted the summer after I became a cashier, because I had good availability, and I possess a lot of good leadership qualities. So that’s kind of what they’re looking for,” Bonica said.

In this role, he is responsible for directing employees to their positions, keeping track of scheduled lunches and breaks, and handling large amounts of money from the cash register. He also helps to run the department when the managers are not there, and keeps the store functioning smoothly.

As easy as it is to go into a store and buy groceries, it is not as easy to keep track of the many tasks Bonica is responsible for. This is why he believes the job has improved his organizational skills in other areas of his life, including casting shows as well as organizing both cast and crew members for WATA.

“I’m good at organizing people, so that’s always been a big thing for me in the theater department. That’s one thing that possessed me to do it at work,” Bonica said.

Bonica is currently directing the black box production, 24 Hours – AM, which has rehearsals every weekday, so his availability is limited, although he is still able to pick up some shifts. 

Many students apply for jobs in high school at the prospect of gaining independence and freedom over their finances, as well as to get job experience. This was no different for Bonica.

“It was just time for me to stop relying on my parents so much, and start to rely on myself,” Bonica said. “So I decided to get a job.”

The many qualities Bonica already possessed prepared him well for his role as an assistant manager. He is good at and enjoys organizing people, which is an important quality for such a job.

According to Bonica, his after-school job has benefited him in many areas outside of school, including in honing the skills he already has. 

“Market Basket has really helped with my leadership skills,” Bonica said. “I directed the SpongeBob musical last year, and I took a lot of my skills from Market Basket.”

Bonica’s job not only benefits him in other areas of his life, but adds some enjoyment to his day.

“A few weeks ago, I did a night crew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. with my friends,” Bonica said. “We decorated the store for Christmas, so that was a lot of fun.”

Bonica enjoys the personal aspect of the job and the many interactions with different people throughout the day.

“My favorite part of working at Market Basket is definitely the people that I’m working with,” Bonica said. “I work with all the other assistant managers, and they’re great people. My bosses are pretty good, and everybody that works in the checkout department are all good people.”