Faces of Tamworth: Bob Barber, man behind Sportsman’s Warehouse Volunteer of the Month, opens up

Hitting the road: Sportsman's Warehouse manager Bob Barber is hanging up the boots, instead of selling them, after fifty years in the local workforce. Photo: Peter Hardin

Hitting the road: Sportsman's Warehouse manager Bob Barber is hanging up the boots, instead of selling them, after fifty years in the local workforce. Photo: Peter Hardin

CHANCES are if you’re into sport, or has a child who is, you’ve come across Bob Barber.

After 50 years in the local workforce, the man behind the Sportsman’s Warehouse Volunteer of the Month award Bob Barber hung up the boots on New Year’s Eve last year.

Mr Barber celebrated his final day of work on December 31 – just days his 66th birthday.

“It was a funny feeling walking out after handing in my keys, but the time is right, you never know what the future holds,” he said. 

Mr Barber left Tamworth High at the age of 16 to take up a job on the railways, before taking on the retail world 11 years ago at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

“I have seen Tamworth change a lot, working at the store I have seen a whole generation of kids come and work before moving on to other things, and I have also seen a whole generation of kids moving through the sporting grades every change of season,” he said.

Customers have been the greatest highlight, but also the biggest disappointment during his time on Peel St, while the retail environment has changed before his very eyes.

“It is a shame that all the family owned stores like Treloars and Pengilleys have disappeared,” Mr Barber said.

“Although the customers are still the same, serving people and talking to people has been a real highlight for me, although the increase in shoplifting has been really disappointing. It doesn’t happen every day, but for people to just think they can do that is sad.” 

As for retirement plans, the mad sports fan has already got a taste for the road after a first trip to Melbourne for the Boxing Day test last week, before the couple head for Western Australia in a few weeks’ time.

“When I get back I want to get back into soccer – mentoring young referees, but also catching up and spending more time with my family.” 

How you can nominate someone for The Northern Daily Leader's Faces of Tamworth campaign

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