A WOMAN is celebrating 30 years of working at Boots, a job she started through a training scheme when she left school.
Sharron Harrington has been so happy with her career at the Eagles Meadow store that not only is she marking three decades with the company, both her two daughters have followed her into the firm.
Now aged 47, Sharron fell into the job almost by accident as she planned to work with children after she finished studying at Grove Park School in Wrexham.
Her cousin was a pharmacist in Boots and mentioned there was a space on the Youth Training Scheme if she wanted to do it for 12 months and the rest is history.
“I never had any plans to work in retail,” Sharron explained. “I had worked at a local corner shop for some pocket money so my cousin thought I might like to do more shop work.
“I thought I’d try it and I’ve been here ever since.”
Rising through the ranks to become assistant manager, Sharron flourished with the company, who have rewarded her long service with £250 shopping vouchers.
She said: “There are two others in the store who have been here 40 years and out of all ten staff members at least half have been here for 20 years or more.
“We’ve all known each other so long it is more like a family than a job. The customers can see that too – they see always say how friendly it is in our store and that’s makes it a really nice place to work.
“Any new starters are always made very welcome and they seem to love it.”
During her 30 years Sharron, who married her childhood sweetheart Phil 26 years ago, has seen a reduction in staff numbers with the introduction of technology and its impact on retail and remembers the excitement surrounding the move to Eagles Meadow eight years ago.
“The old store was spread over all different levels and sections so coming here to a big, open, modern store was a huge change.
“We were all so excited and it was so much easier for us to have a real presence on the shop floor.”
Sharron’s experience and knowledge has seen her spend time in other Boots stores when necessary, such as when new managers have arrived, and in recent years she has been joined by her own family in the Wrexham branch.
She said: “Both my daughters are working here now so they’re little ‘mini-me’s! Nicola, who is 23, was doing an Open University degree and working here part time and then Rachel, who is studying at Glyndwr University was doing a few hours too.
“Now it’s in to the holidays they’ve increased their hours too so it’s a real family affair.”
Both girls still live at home in Rhosddu, along with Nicola’s partner and 18-month-old daughter, and being just five minutes’ walk from the shopping centre has certainly come in handy, especially in snowy weather.
When she’s not working hard at Boots, Sharron enjoys helping look after her granddaughter, Isabella, and her and Phil try to spend as much time as possible at their caravan in Conwy.
She plans to celebrate her three decades of service with a night out with colleagues and the festivities will continue as Boots itself marks a significant anniversary this year too.
The company will have been a high street fixture in Wales for 120 years this autumn so a range of activities and special events are being planned to mark the occasion.
Store manager at Eagles Meadow, Jo Stringfellow, said: “Sharron is absolutely indispensable to our team here at Boots. She has a wealth of experience with our company and knows so many people in the local area that having her here helps make it such a friendly place to work.
“Her brand and product knowledge is unsurpassed and she has seen many changes over her 30 years – always embracing new challenges and developing within her role.
“I’m sure she will be a great asset later in the year when we mark our 120 years in Wales, which we will do alongside fundraising for Children In Need with a variety of events and charity challenges,” added Jo.
“I think I’ll consider that an extension of my celebrations too,” added Sharron. “And I’m going to buy something memorable with my vouchers – maybe a piece of jewellery or something.
“I can’t say I’m planning another 30 years here but I certainly don’t have any plans to move on, “she added.
“I’m very happy doing what I’m doing with the people I work with here, so why would I go anywhere else?”
Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre manager Kevin Critchley said: “As a centre we are right at the heart of our local community so having someone in one of our stores for 30 years, with two of her daughters alongside her, encompasses that ethos perfectly.
“Sharron is a great advertisement for the good working atmosphere we have here, and I know she is not alone in her impressive commitment to the thriving retail environment of Wrexham.”