A familiar face at Boyes in Scarborough has retired after 40 years with the company.
Ernie Gee, 60, had his first taste of working for the family firm when he did work experience at the Queen Street store in 1977 while studying at Newcastle Poly.
He was asked to manage the Northallerton store, where he stayed for nine years, becoming an area manager and looking after Guisborough, Redcar and Stokesley.
In 1986, Mr Gee was asked to come and manage the Scarborough store as the then-manager, Edwin Salt, was leaving to become a minister.
He was also responsible for stores in Malton, Whitby and York, and retired with the title of director of retail operations.
Mr Gee said: “I loved it right from the start. When I started there were nine stores and the 61st opens this Friday.
“The company has been transformed and it’s just fabulous that it’s still a family firm.
“Every day for me has been an absolute joy and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
He added that he would like to thank all the staff and customers, who have made it such a special place to work.
Mr Gee said: “We regard ourselves as one big family at Boyes and we include the customers in that.”
He said Christmas at Boyes has always been a highlight, with Santa’s Grotto and the special window display.
Mr Gee says he is now having a gap year, which “wasn’t invented when he was at college” and that he is looking forward to plenty of holidays.
He added: “I have fabulous memories and I’ll miss everyone terribly. I wish the company every success and happiness for the future.