A Carisbrooke woman, who got a job at her local store to save the family home, has described this latest year as one of the most memorable.
Mel Lacey celebrated her 30 year work anniversary at The Co-operative Food – Carisbrooke during the lockdown on 2nd June 2020 and says she still enjoys going to work every day.
Clocked up 30 years in store
The mother of six sons first started working at the store when it was owned by David Harris and came under the name ‘David’s’. When David sold his stores to Southern Co-op in 2005, Mel was very happy to keep working and has now clocked up 30 years in total.
Mel, aged 61, said:
“I aim to get to 40 years and then I will retire. When I started working here in the late 80s, it was a time when the mortgage rates were at 15% and I had just given birth to my second son. But I needed to get a job to keep up on the mortgage repayments and we still live at the same house 30 years on.”
A family affair
Working for Southern Co-op has been a family affair as five of her sons and her husband have all worked for the company.
During the last 30 years, she also ran her own nursery but decided she needed a bit less responsibility and closed it last year.
“In that time, there have been several viruses and flus that have gone around but never anything like we are currently going through.
“The only thing that has affected retail in a similar way is severe snow.
“It has been really interesting to see people’s different reactions to it as they come in for their essentials. We have had a lot more people coming here as they don’t feel safe in larger stores. It’s been lovely to see new faces. I’ve enjoyed getting to know them all and remembering their names.”
“Often feel like skipping in to work”
She first started working at just 12 years old at a local grocers and she soon developed her passion for serving people behind the counter.
“I just love being a customer service assistant. I don’t think I have ever woken up and thought I don’t want to go in today.
“I often feel like skipping in to work as I live so close. It’s like a family here.”
A pillar in the Carisbrooke community
Lewis Heaven-Gandy, Store Manager at the Southern Co-op branch in Carisbrooke’s High Street, said:
“From running the local nursery to manning the local till, Mel has been a pillar in the Carisbrooke community since before I was born.
“Mel has been at the store since I started working for Southern Co-op 14 years ago, juggling this with running the local nursery and playgroup directly opposite. Her effort and enthusiasm has never once waned which is truly remarkable.
“Mel is a pleasure to work with and is known and loved by everyone in the community. Her passion for retail and her bright, bubbly personality ensures nothing but the highest customer service is delivered day in day out. She really is a credit to the store and to the society.”
News shared by the Southern Co-operative in their own words. Ed