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Kerry chalks up 50 years at Coles

Kerry chalks up 50 years at Coles

If you’ve shopped at Coles during your lifetime, you’d know the familiar, smiling and beautiful soul that is Kerry Foster. I can attest to that statement, because, well, I wrote it, and I used to work with Kerry. If your morning at work started with a “Morning Darl” and a smile, it was a good day.

This week Kerry is celebrating the amazing milestone of working at Coles for 50 years!

“1969, I still remember my first day, I walked in and this bloke said to me, ‘Well you could of saved me a phone call and come 10 minutes earlier, I’ll put you on but you’ll only last a week.’ That was the same year man walked in the moon.”

Kerry has worked in many sections of Coles over the years, with 43 years’ experience in the ‘Meat room’ alone, she also tried her hand in Deli, Bakehouse, Point Of Sale and now the Checkouts. “I’ve been there ever since, it’s my favourite and it’s simply because of the communication with customers.”

“99% are lovely customers, you get to know them, you hear their highs and their lows, you see them when they are little kids and now, they have kids of their own. The unique people that I work with also make each day great. I value each friendship I’ve made over the years within the business. Some of the old managers I’ve had I still get along with, I still catch up with old friends who used to work here, they are just wonderful people.”

Over the 50 years you can guess there have been many changes to business and sales as a whole.

“Technology would have to be the biggest change within the business over the years, when I started everything was hand done, now, even the meat room does very little by hand. The trucks had to be unloaded by hand, one by one, now they come in on a pallet and you use a forklift, at the checkouts keys were to be pressed one at a time, you had to stamp the tins and everything there by hand - everything was by hand.

Also the trading hours, we used to close at 12pm on Saturday and the shop wouldn’t open again until Monday morning, back then you had more time with your family. Now it’s full steam ahead, seven days a week, early morning and late nights.”

Not only does Kerry work 40 hours a week at Coles, somehow, she finds time to actively volunteer at different organisations including as a Wayfinder at the Orange Health Service, and a member within ‘Friends Assisting the Community’. “I work three hours out at the hospital of a weekend as a volunteer Wayfinder and one day a month up at the Park Guildry.” How does Kerry find the time to volunteer while working full time? “You make time, it’s a bit of a rest and it’s amazing how many of our customers you see out there.”

“It was just a bit of a way to give back, and because we’ve got the group and all of the money went to the hospital it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Kerry explained that one of her favourite memories from the 50 years was recently when her co-workers threw her a well-deserved party in the tea-room with the walls covered in A4 sheets of congratulatory messages. “They made such a fuss, it was really lovely, we had a beautiful spread of morning tea, and I was given my gold badge, as well as taken out for breakfast by some of the Managers. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been here for 50 years, it becomes a habit, you get up and go to work every morning, you don’t really think about it.”

“I’m very proud to work in an Australian owned company that does so much behind the scenes whether it be for charity or for our farmers.. that’s what makes me feel proud, and, knowing the people I know, because of Coles.”

Congratulations Kerry, an amazing achievement, you deserve every bit of  the current ‘fuss’.

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