© Jamie Bennett
Colemans had a cake-cutting ceremony Thursday to mark the start of a week-long celebration to mark the company’s 80 years in business. Here, Elizabeth Hann, left, and Grant Hann enjoy some of the cake given out to customers at Colemans at the Gardens.
It's the one-on-one interaction that has kept Reg Bennett happy at work for the past 38 years.
Bennett is a meat cutter at Colemans, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this week.
“You meet the same people, but you meet them in a different way,” Bennett said Thursday. “People get to know you and they come in to see you if they want something cut.”
Business has certainly picked up since Arthur James and Maggie Coleman opened the first Colemans store in 1934.
Located on Broadway, the store offered food, hardware and clothing but the company has since grown to include 12 food stores, as well as several furniture and clothing stores.
On Thursday, the company launched a weeklong celebration with a cake-cutting ceremony.
Bennett, who cut the cake, started as a delivery driver before eventually moving on to the meat department.
After a stint as a manager, he decided to return to his familiar role as meat cutter since it allowed him to work more closely with his customers.
While things have grown during his career, he said the company’s commitment to providing a clean store and reliable service is the same as it’s ever been.
“The people you work for here are genuine,” he said. “They are good to the community and to their employees. If you learn to do your work well, you’re good for life here. Customers can recognize that.”
Long-time customers Al and Libby Joy were among those at Thursday’s event.
Libby said the couple have always shopped at Colemans stores for the unique combination of quality food and helpful service.