Hardware legend clocks up 50 years

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By Mick Jensen

Hardware salesman Brian Glassey has clocked up 50 years of employment with the same employer and has no plans to retire just yet.

Brian started work with WH Collins & Co on December 9, 1966 as a fresh faced 16-year-old straight from school.

“I was literally ‘the boy’ and at the bottom of the sales ladder in those days. I always wanted to do shop work and that’s why I’m still here doing what I do today.”

For the last 20 or so years Brian has been head of the hardware department and a very familiar face on the shop floor of the business now known as Ashburton Mitre 10 Mega.

When he first started, WH Collins was located on East Street and a much smaller operation.

Brian was interviewed for his job by then boss Eric Morris.

He fondly remembers having to unpack large crates of tools, china and other items that were shipped out from England and the USA.

Over the years the sales process had changed considerably, said Brian.

“We used to write out orders by hand and I got to know customers really well in the old days. Now it’s all computerised – cards are swiped and stock is automatically re-ordered.

“I haven’t used a checkout in 10 years since we opened the Mega store and that’s the way I like it.”

Brian is a self confessed “low-tech” operator and prefers to use his vast knowledge and experience rather than computers.

His dad was a builder and he (Brian) was able to “fix all sorts of things”.

Although he had a good memory and knew exactly where things were in his beloved hardware area, he was not too flash at remembering names.

“I recognise faces and customers that I’ve been dealing with for many years, but I don’t always remember names.”

Ashburton Mitre 10 Mega owner Simon Lye said Brian Glassey had a “massive rapport” with the community and was the “glue” in his store’s team .

“He’s a very knowledgeable man and his longevity with the company is a testament to his adaptability and commitment over the last five decades,” said Mr Lye.

Brian Glassey “shouted” morning tea for his fellow workers today and will be the centre of attention at a staff event to recognise his service in a week’s time.

From January 9 he will scale down his hours to three days a week, but intends to continue sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge for a few more years to come.