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Long service . . . Annette Andrew (left), Irene Mitchell and Pam Edwards have worked at Northside New World for a combined 95 years. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

An Oamaru supermarket knows all about having a loyal staff.

Irene Mitchell (33 years), Annette Andrew (33 years) and Pam Edwards (29 years) are just five years shy of a combined 100 years of experience at Northside New World.

Mrs Mitchell actually retired when she turned 65 about six years ago, but she returned a year later to look after the magazine section at the supermarket.

On December 4, she finally retired for good.

Her first day of work was June 25, 1984, when the supermarket was very different from what can be seen today.

“It was when New World, the very first New World, was in the front car park. Before that, it was a Four Square.”

Interestingly, Mrs Mitchell and Mrs Andrew started on the same day.

“We just came in off the street and asked if there was any jobs. We had small children then and we wanted to work school hours, so it was great,” Mrs Mitchell said.

Mrs Edwards, who has worked in the bakery for the past 16 years, started at the supermarket after several years at the former Junction Cafe, in Wansbeck St.

“When the cafe got new owners, they changed things and I chose to leave,” Mrs Edwards said.

“There was part-time work here on the checkout, and if you weren’t on the checkout, you did the shelves.”

Since the trio started, a lot had changed.

“When we first started there wasn’t weekend trading,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“There were no Saturdays or Sundays, so that was a big thing. There was no such thing as scanners – it was all done by hand. You were given a sheet of the specials and you had to read it and learn them all by heart.”

Mrs Andrew, who works as a checkout operator, said one of the biggest changes she had seen was the variety and range of items the supermarket stocked, while Mrs Edwards said the layout of the supermarket was a lot different.

While Mrs Andrew and Mrs Edwards will continue in their roles, Mrs Mitchell is looking forward to a little bit more free time.

However, she was sad to be leaving her colleagues.

“I’m going to miss them because we have worked together for so long, but we all see each other outside of work. I’ll really miss the customers too.”

She looked forward to playing more golf and seeing more of her two sons, who live in Rolleston.