Allan’s half a century in Benalla retail

Half century: Allan Stretton is celebrating 50 years working in retail in Benalla.

When Benalla’s Allan Stretton spotted a job notice pinned to a board at school he had no idea it would shape the next half century of his professional life.

Having worked at Benalla hardware store, Carters, for more than 30 years, in 2005 he was head-hunted by his former manager and made the move to Mitre 10 — where he has been ever since.

“Before I went to Carters I used to deliver accounts for a butchers. Where Rettke’s is now, it used to be Bill Gilles,” Mr Stretton said.

“Then I was at school one day and I saw an advert on the notice board for a part-time position at the hardware store, and I thought why not.

“I went down, spoke to the manager and bingo, I got the job.

“I worked at Carters after school for about a year and a half then they said yep, we’re happy to take you on full-time.

“For those who don’t know Carter’s was where the Gym (Primal) is now, on Carrier St.

“It was there for decades and closed in about 2010.”

Mr Stretton said it was a call from his former boss at Carters, Terry Mack, that saw him move over to Mitre 10.

“He called me one day,” he said.

“And Mitre 10 used to be the hardest place to get a job, but he asked me if I wanted to come over.

“And I said if ever I was going to leave for another job that would be it.”

Mr Stretton said he went to his bosses at Carters and told them about the job offer.

“I said to the manager I hadn’t made up my mind. All he had to do was offer me $1 an hour more and I would have stayed. But he didn’t,” he said.

“That made my decisions much easier and I started at Mitre 10 in 2005.”

Mr Stretton said there were a few changes in the industry since he started.

“The big differences now compared to 50 years ago, is the money… When I started I was on 60 cents an hour,” he said.

“And a lot of products are all pre-packaged now. We don’t weight nails any more.

“I used to have to wash bottles and fill them with terps or Kerosene and put corks in them, all that has changed.”

He said the other big difference is the day to day chit chat.

“You’ve got to be a bit more polite,” he said with a laugh.

“You can’t get away with having the kind of conversations we used to.”

Mr Stretton said he had no plans to call it quits.

“I want to make 20 years at Mitre 10,” he said.

“Then I might think about going to part-time.”