FEW people can imagine spending half a century in one career, but for the old boys and girls of the former Grace Bros store, it was time well spent.
The former staff will reminisce about their time at the store when they catch up for what this year will be the 10th anniversary of its closure.
About 60 people are expected to attend the lunchtime reunion at West Tamworth League Club today.
The Grace Bros store had its last trading day on May 20, 2003, but the reunion is held in September every year.
Tamworth men Bill Dennis and Tony Ball were two of the longest-serving staff members, putting in 50 years and 41 years respectively.
“We had a good team there – a lot of people worked there for a long time,” Mr Ball said.
The decision to change the Grace Bros store, which had about 130 staff, to a Target store made headlines and put many customers off side.
“It was a huge loss for Tamworth and the decision to close caused a lot of heartache,” Mr Ball said.
“Customers were unhappy because that didn’t want it taken away.”
Mr Dennis spent his whole working life at the Graces Bros building, starting in in the grocery section in 1953 as a 17-year-old.
“I started when it was PG Smith and Regan’s, then it was the Western Stores, Farmers (for about a week), Myer, then Grace Bros and back to Myer with Target,” Mr Dennis said.
“I worked in every department except the ladies wear.
“We all worked hard but enjoyed working together.”
Mr Ball, who started in 1962 and worked in homewares, said the retail industry had seen huge changes over the years.
“The customer service is not what it used to be,” he said.
“Back then we’d spend a lot of time with our customers, helping them find what they want. “Each store person had their own clients and we had to build a relationship with customers.
“Business was built on trust in those days.”