Why change if you're happy?'

Invercargill Hannahs manager Tom Gibson has been with the company for 50 years.
Invercargill Hannahs manager Tom Gibson has been with the company for 50 years.

Tom Gibson is celebrating a milestone.

The Invercargill Hannahs shoe store manager has been working for the company for 50 years.

He started out as a messenger boy in Greymouth in 1964 at age 15 after deciding work at his father's logging mill was not for him.

He saw an advertisement in the newspaper for the job, applied and got it, and said goodbye to splitting wood.

"Once I got in, I knew it was what I wanted to do," he said.

From there he travelled around the country in different jobs at Hannahs stores until he taking up the manager's position in Invercargill in 1977.

"I'm almost a Southlander now," Gibson said.

However, not everyone in his family was pleased about the move at first.

"I remember when I first came here I had a young family and my wife hated it for three years."

After then, she became a "true blue Southlander", he said.

A humble man, he credits his long employment with Hannahs to always having great staff around him.

"It makes my job easy."

Gibson is the first person in recent history to work for Hannahs for 50 years.

April 6 was his half-century anniversary and while he tried to let the day slip by quietly, his daughters and co-workers had other plans, organising an afternoon of celebrations.

His favourite part of the job had been all the people he had met along the way and his regular customers who came back to buy more shoes.

"I get to meet people and have a good yarn."

He would rather stay in his job with people around him constantly than retire to an empty house with nothing to do, he said.

"I don't plan to retire, no dates."

Gibson would not change a thing about his career.

"It's a good company I work for, they've treated me well."

His long service with the company came down to the positive experiences he had over his 50 years and although he said other people might think it was boring to stay with the same company he remained cheery about his career choice.

"Why change if you're happy?"

National Hannahs general manager Stephen Cook said it was an outstanding achievement.

"I'm not aware of anyone else that I can recall in recent times who has done this."


The Southland Times