Twenty years ago this weekend in 1997 I bought the business Gaby’s after a quick visit one evening with real estate agent and landlord Bob Deans. I thought I may last 5 years, and here it is now 20! As I sat in a deck chair yesterday with a glass of wine I reflected on those years and all who have helped me survive.
- First of all are my staff over those years. Initially there was just Ngarie working with me and she was so helpful in those early times. My long time friend Heather joined Gaby’s in 2002. We had worked together in Palmerston North and it was great to have her as a friend in Warkworth and salesperson at Gaby’s. I was sorry to lose her when she moved to Tauranga to be closer to family. Eleanor who is my current 2IC first joined me in 2004. She has left twice for other pastures but has come back again (I’ve told her there will be no third farewell pressie!). Eleanor is my rock now and does lots in the shop while I deal with suppliers, orders, computer input, accounts etc. I value your work and friendship Eleanor over the past 12 years. I’m lucky to have Sheryl now, and there have been others too – Angela, Berris, Michelle, Charmaigne, Robin, Kay, Karen, Gemma, Robyn; and in Gaby’s Down the Lane – Kirsty, Heather, Ally and Colette. All have been special in their own ways and I thank them all.
- My wonderful landlords in Argyll Angle – Bob and Jean Deans (who delighted me on Friday with the flowers photographed). Dear Bob is so generous in the Warkworth community (although a frugal Scotsman at heart!). I couldn’t have wished for better landlords. We’ve had some laughs over the years, especially when extending Gaby’s and building Imelda’s next door in 2006.
- My suppliers and agents – Some such as Classic Fashions I have been dealing with from the start and others are more recently discovered (and some are no longer). These people become friends and advisers.
- My husband, John Hawley, who in the early days kept some stock records, attached a sale tag or three, dismantled fitting rooms for painting, moved racks for re-carpeting, installed the wall racking system, didn’t flinch when I rang home one day and said ‘Barfoots are moving, I want to take on the lease to extend Gaby’s and start a shoe shop’ …
- My CUSTOMERS. Gaby’s wouldn’t survive without you! We appreciate our local regulars and some-time visitors too. We know that there is ever more choice out in the marketplace, in both shopping centres and online, so your custom with us is just so appreciated.
So thanks everyone – and here’s to another year!