Mary is leaving her post
By EMMA CORNFORD
AFTER 24 years of sheets, scarves and service, next Friday Mary Fitzpatrick will walk from behind the counter for the last time at Mackellys in Grafton.
Mrs Fitzpatrick has been a fixture at the store since she walked in and asked for a job in 1981.
Store manager Andrew Kelly said that he still remembers the day on which Mrs Fitzpatrick linked up with the long-established Grafton business.
"I remember she'd come up from Tamworth and arrived at the office all dressed up, looking for a job, and she looked like such an impressive person I organised the staffing to hire her," he said.
"She has always been a great employee."
Throughout her time at the store, Mrs Fitzpatrick has become known as a gifted haggler when it comes to buying stock.
"I've really enjoyed getting to know the reps and their families and negotiating great bargains.
"I've put the fear of God into them in the past," she laughed.
Mrs Fitzpatrick said she was only a 'baby' in terms of her length of employment at Mackellys ? 'the average is about 56 years around here'.
She said the store's 75th anniversary at the Ulmarra hotel was one of the most memorable moments of her employment with the Mackellys company.
"They invited every employee and their partners, all who were still alive.
"There were hundreds there it was just amazing."
So what will she do with her time, now she will no longer be behind the counter?
"I'm going to go on a few trips and visit people and just have some time off.
"And I'm going to cook ? I love to cook."