Business

Gloria takes final bow after 47 years at Woolworths

KEEPING IT FRESH: Gloria Bowles celebrates her retirement and last shift with her Woolworths colleagues.
KEEPING IT FRESH: Gloria Bowles celebrates her retirement and last shift with her Woolworths colleagues. Kirstin Payne

A DAY at work has always been more like a day with friends for long-term Woolworths employee Gloria Bowles, however after 47 years on the job she feels it is time to move on.

Originally it was Gloria's love of her gardens that brought her to Woolworths, at the age of 18.

"Gardening was always something I liked so I applied here, that how it happened," she said.

"I remember my first day; I was very quiet and shy back then and very nervous".

From that point on Gloria worked at all four Woolworths stores in Warwick as it grew with the Rose City centre.

Working from the checkout to merchandise manager, seafood and the deli, the mother-of-two said she had seen every change at the store.

"We used to have to put together our branch orders on cards with a pencil and we only worked from 8.30-12 on a Saturday; there was no night trade," she said.

"Our uniforms changed so much as well, when I started it was black and white and at one stage it was wear whatever you like on the weekend."

The long-time local served happy customers through floods, truck strikes and even a little romance.

"Years and years ago I received a mystery Valentine's Day card from the town I know a good customer moved to," Gloria said.

"I never took much notice."

But who wouldn't love her; Gloria is described as wonderful and giving by long-time friend Verlie Rhodes.

"Whatever she does she always puts in 100%, I became very good friends with Gloria; we talked for two hours Sunday night," Verlie said between tears.

More than 20 years ago Gloria organised one of the first Care for Kids (now Fresh Futures) fundraisers and cent sales in the centre.

"She got the whole centre involved," Verlie said.

Gloria and Verlie said they couldn't recall any particularly odd customers over their time at work together, "but there were some interesting managers", Verlie joked.

Though they will no longer see each other every day Gloria said she would visit often, happy to have a chat when she does her groceries.

"The best part of the job is the friends you make and seeing where the ones you have trained end up," Gloria said.

"You watch them start off packing and end up store manager, a doctor or have their own business; you watch them go through a lot."

However after 47 years it's not just the store that has changed.

"Oh...and I'm not shy any more," Gloria laughed.

Topics:  career, woolworths



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