Elsie steps out for last time
ELSIE Cowell has spent much of her working life taking care of other people's feet - now it's time for her to put up her own.
The long-time Style Shoes employee fitted her last pair of children's school shoes yesterday, retiring from the job she has done so well for decades.
And that wasn't the only reason to celebrate.
"I thought (yesterday) was a good day (to retire) because it is the end of my working week and it's my 65th birthday, so why not?" she asked.
Elsie started working at Style Shoes back in 1985 when the store was owned by John Devitt, the father of her current boss, Melanie McLennan.
In 1990 she left the store and spent time working at the former Killarney Medical Centre and Rockmans before returning to Style Shoes, where she stayed until yesterday.
Although she has a strong history in children's shoes, Elsie said she loved nothing more than styling her customers for a big event.
"My favourite part of the job is helping customers put together an outfit for someone who is going somewhere special like a wedding," she said.
"They would bring the dress in and we would go from there and they really do appreciate it when you can match it to the right shoe."
Looking forward to the next chapter of her life, Elsie said she was ready to enjoy life's treasures.
"I'm footloose and fancy free," she said.
"My husband is retired and we have cattle on our property, so that will take up some time, and then we would like to do some travelling.
"I am just looking forward to less pressure, more time in my garden and more time with my grandsons."
Melanie said she was heartbroken to lose Elsie, who loves the business as if it were her own.
"I will miss her dearly and am going to be lost without her," she said. "I can't even replace her because I would never find someone who could fill her shoes."