Our manager of the Barking store, John Owen has recently celebrated a giant milestone…working for Brewers for an astonishing 50 years! We had a chat with John to find out a bit more about his time at Brewers from the beginning and what is in store for the future.
Firstly, a huge congratulations for such an achievement! How did it all start?
Well, I just happened to spot an advert on a chalk board in Basildon Market when I was 14 years old. It was a part-time job for Collings Paint, working on Saturdays and school holidays. Who knew that decision was the beginning of a lifelong career!
That’s amazing, what was it like working in the paint industry back then?
Collings had three stalls in Basildon Market – one each for wallpaper, paints and floor coverings – and they also had a shop and warehouse in Laindon. Our only way of communicating with the shop though was the telephone box next to us! Back in those days, you could leave school at 15, so when I was offered a full-time job in 1972, I jumped at the chance.
Sounds very different to today! How has your career developed from that point onwards?
Brewers acquired Collings in 1999 which opened a lot of opportunities for me. From working in the warehouse to being a driver and then moving to the sales office, I became a supervisor and then manager elect in Basildon. In 2008, I became the manager of the Romford branch. I very much enjoyed my time there, but an opportunity came up in 2019 to join the new branch opening in Barking and I was lucky enough to get it. Managing a brand-new store was one of my career highlights.
Brewers Barking's opening day in 2019.
It is such an exciting time to be a part of a new store opening – there’s so much buzz! Is that why you have been with Brewers for such a long time?
Brewers is a great company to work for. I feel valued not only within the branches I have worked in but also from the Brewers family themselves. I feel that over the years I have built up a significant rapport with many colleagues throughout the business.
What a great way to feel about the company you work for, but it must be nice to think about retirement soon! Do you have any plans yet?
I very much still enjoy the job, but I won’t miss the 5:30am starts! The thought though of sun, sea & sangria becomes more inviting the closer my retirement gets....