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Longtime storeman reminisces on changes
Picture: Malcolm Heberle Coles Albany storeman Ray Berryman has been employed at the State’s oldest Coles store for 40 years.

Most people cannot imagine spending 40 years working in the same job but for Coles Albany storeman Ray Berryman, who has worked at the State’s oldest Coles store since 1972, it has been a chance to watch real change take place.

Coles WA celebrated its 80th birthday last Friday but it is almost 100 years since the first Coles Variety Store was opened in Melbourne in 1914 by George Coles.

Of the 10,500 Coles WA employees, 1100 have been employed for more than a decade in some of the 85 stores Statewide.

Mr Berryman has been monitoring incoming and outgoing stock in Coles’ Great Southern base since 1975, after he first took the job working for his parents and handling groceries.

He remembers the date as if it were yesterday – October 20.

“I’ve seen lots of changes, ” Mr Berryman said.

“The loads used to come down by train. We used to have a conveyor belt (running behind the building) and everything was unloaded by hand-off pallets.

“We used to get one load a week; now we get one every day.

“You couldn’t do it by hand now.”

Though Mr Berryman is one of several Coles Albany employees who have worked there for 15 years or more, whether rising through the corporate ranks or staying on in customer service roles, he is believed to be the second-longest serving Coles worker in the State.

“I have no idea why I’m still here,” he said. “I have had lots of chances to go but never did.

“I was offered a job at the Albany Hospital years ago to be a storeman there, but it was coming up to my holiday time, so I said no.”

Acting store manager Kim Sullivan said his employees’ dedication was amazing.

“The experience that comes from these people staying is excellent, ” he said.