Parkes Big W turns sweet 16 with six original staff and a bright future

Not too many people these days can say they've remained in the same job or with the same company for 16 years.

But at Big W in Parkes there are six employees still working the floor and serving customers in the department store in the town's CBD that opened its doors for the first time on June 26, 2004.

Of the 187 people who were employed ahead of its opening, Joy Spice - now the store manager, Matthew Little (second in charge), Monica Kearney (manager), Lyn Kennedy, Micky Roffe and Chris McGuire are those who remain there today.

"Our whole management team is three original staff too," Joy said, who's been in her role for 12 months.

The business has also only had four store managers in the last 16 years, with the longest serving being Paulette May over 11 years.

"We're a big family, we have a good team here," Joy said.

"There's been lots of changes and a lot of challenges over the years but at the end of the day we've always been there for the customer."

Among the biggest changes - like for most businesses - have been digitally, with the store now offering online ordering.

While there was some uncertainty of the future of Big W stores across the Central West when last April the Woolworths Group announced it will be closing 30 stores - Joy and her team are looking forward to a bright future in Parkes.

"Our lease has been renewed and we're looking forward to continuing serving our town who has supported us over the last 16 years," Joy said.

Parkes Big W was a $10 million development, with construction beginning in October 2003 on the site of the former Village Square shopping complex.

The former CWA building and Girl Guides club house were demolished to make way for the store.

Up to 187 people were employed, all of them from the local area except for one, the store manager from Sydney.

When the store opened, high on the list of priorities for Parkes Big W - according to the June 25, 2004 article in the Parkes Champion Post - was its involvement in the community.

There were plans for the area in the entrance foyer to be made available for community groups to conduct raffles, which continues to take place to this day.

Staff celebrated the store's sweet 16th birthday last month with a special cake.

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