It was the end of an era at The Co-operative Food in Whitby as the store bid farewell to its longest-serving member of staff after almost half a century’s service.
Colin Norbury, 63, was deputy manager at the Langbourne Road store, and has retired after 48 years with the group having joined them straight from school.
“I was very emotional to leave after such a long time,” Colin said.
“It was not a decision that I took lightly. I miss my colleagues and a lot of the customers, many of whom have become friends over the years.
“It feels strange now when I go in to do a bit of shopping as a customer rather than an employee. I still get grabbed though, a lot of people must still think I work there.”
Colin began working for The Co-op in 1966 at the age of 15.
His first position was as a salesman at the group’s electrical and houseware store in Baxtergate.He was appointed branch manager aged just 18.
In 1991, Colin was relocated to premises in Wellington Road before the business moved to its current base in Langbourne Road in 1997.
“Obviously there have been a lot of big changes since I first started,” Colin added.
“When I joined the company I worked alongside about half a dozen people which is very different to being part of a team of around 150, as was the case at the superstore before Sainsbury’s opened.
“I’ve had some great times over the years and can look back on a lot of fond memories .
“Perhaps my proudest moment in the job was when we were named national food store of the year in 2008.”
Store manager Dennis Gilroy feels that Colin will be a “huge miss”.
He added: “I’m not sure that we will be able to replace somebody of Colin’s stature, such is his popularity within the local community.
“To have stayed with the group for 48 years all the way through from school is amazing. I’ve never come across anybody who has worked for The Co-op for as long as Colin has.”