Charlie Duynhoven has seen plenty of changes in his more than 40 years at Terang Co-op.
From pen and paper to computers, and from manual tills to barcode scanning – the retail world is almost unrecognisable from the first time Mr Duynhoven stepped into the High Street store as a furniture sales assistant.
Most importantly to him, in 18 years as general manager Mr Duynhoven is leaving “the Co” in good shape.
“To see how the co-op has grown has been very rewarding,” he said.
“As a team we’ve achieved pretty much everything we set out to achieve and the co-op remains in a strong position.
“The co-op is owned and supported by the local community and an integral part of the fabric of Terang. We work together well and I see a bright future.”
After 43 years at the Terang institution, Mr Duynhoven will retire next week. A community send-off was held on Wednesday to pay tribute to his years of service.
He leaves the co-op with many positive memories, and lists among his highlights as relocating the hardware business from the main building to a new store, expanding the supermarket and establishing the dairy services team.
Mr Duynhoven also paid tribute to the co-op for giving young people a start at working life.
“It’s been wonderful to see kids grow and develop with the working experience,” he said.
Mr Duynhoven said the time was right to retire but there was a lot he would miss about the co-op after dedicating most of his working life to the business.
“I’ll mostly miss working with the team,” he said. “I’ve built up a lot of good working relationships with everyone; the managers, the staff, the board and the community.”
Terang Co-op Board chairman Brendan Kenna described Mr Duynhoven as an “exemplary leader”.
“He started in the business as a furniture sales assistant and has risen through the ranks to become the general manager and in that time has seen rapid growth in the business,” Mr Kenna said.
“Charlie is very popular amongst the staff and gets the best out of everybody which makes him a very good manager. He’s always had the interests of the co-op at heart.”
Mr Duynhoven said he is looking forward to spending time with family and travelling once he retires.