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16 September 2020
Almost 36 years in the retail hardware game has provided plenty of life experiences for Horsham’s Tony Hofmaier.
In fact Mr Hofmaier, who retired from his job at Bunnings, said with a laugh that experience in retail should be compulsory training for everyone.
“Everybody should do two years of national service and two years of retail to teach them about life,” he laughed.
“I thought going from tractor-driving in Hopetoun to working selling hammers would be a pretty easy gig – but it certainly teaches you a lot about things.”
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Mr Hofmaier said he had seen and experienced just about everything in almost four decades on the floor of what was Weights Mitre 10, Dahlsens and finally Bunnings.
“We’ve even cleaned up human poo in this shop, we’ve seen customers throw punches, I’ve seen staff throw punches – and I’ve loved it all, loved every minute of it,” he said.
Bunnings staff members farewelled Mr Hofmaier with a guard of honour inside the shop on Friday.
Mr Hofmaier said technological changes were the main things he had noticed during his time in retail.
“When we started with Johnny Weight we were writing out dockets with pens and pieces of paper,” he said.
“I can remember when he first introduced computers, the first day, one of our well-known builders said ‘never again, never going to shop here again with computers’.
“He was back the next day and the world has since taken off with computers.”
Mr Hofmaier said the best thing he had experienced in the hardware trade was ‘working with the great people’.
“The team members, the staff. I was talking with Wally Emmerson and I reckon we’ve probably worked with 300 people in our time here,” he said.
“And they have been great people, absolutely fantastic. Customers are fantastic.
“The toughest time I probably had was Monday mornings in the winter when Collingwood lost because they would be lining up out the door waiting for me.
“They were nowhere to be seen when Collingwood won.”
Mr Hofmaier, who had been a promising footballer with Hopetoun and Yaapeet, confirmed that Collingwood had been keen for him to train with them during his youth.
“Essendon also invited me and I always hated them so I refused,” he said.
“Then Collingwood started sniffing around but dad, being an old German tractor-driver, said ‘no way son, you’re on the farm to stay’. I only found out about it years later and was devastated.”
Mr Hofmaier said he hoped the COVID-19 restrictions would lift to allow for a caravanning holiday with his wife Lyn.
The entire September 16, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!