OUR PEOPLE

South West supermarket stalwart marks 25 years

Long term legend: Ty Rickman is a familiar face to many across the Capes region, beginning his career in Dunsborough at the age of 21 before moving to Margaret River in 2020. Picture: Nicky Lefebvre

Long term legend: Ty Rickman is a familiar face to many across the Capes region, beginning his career in Dunsborough at the age of 21 before moving to Margaret River in 2020. Picture: Nicky Lefebvre

A familiar face for South-West residents and visitors between the Capes, Coles Margaret River Store Manager Ty Rickman will be celebrating his 25-year anniversary working for the supermarket giant this month - beating the national average for time spent in a job - which is three years - eight times over.

Mr Rickman's career started at Coles Dunsborough when he was just 21 years old, working across multiple roles in fresh produce, dairy and grocery departments.

"I remember being really nervous about starting at Coles - the Dunsborough shopping centre had just opened, and it was unlike anything we'd ever seen before in the southwest," he said, recalling the early days of the township, which became his home when his family arrived during his fourth year at school.

"Even though it was nerve-racking, I had a great first day and became really close with the team at Dunsborough. Particularly in regional communities, people tend to stay local, so you form some lifelong friendships.

"We had a lot of fun, especially during the summer months where everyone migrates south for the Christmas holidays, or the annual Dunsborough Leavers event.

"The store would be exceptionally busy, so it was great that everyone could work, and problem solve together."

Mr Rickman moved from Dunsborough to Margaret River in 2020, where he was promoted to Store Manager.

"It was a pretty uncertain time for everybody," he said. "The Margaret River team is great, and we all jump in to help each other out.

"I've absorbed a lot of things I learnt from my previous store managers, and I take pride in knowing the team feels comfortable to come to me for help whenever they need it.

"We're a close-knit group and I'm happy to be there as a mentor, colleague, and friend for the team members."

Mr Rickman said his connection with the community around him was as important as the work he does in store.

"People are definitely one of the main reasons I've had such a long-lasting career at Coles," he said.

"I love being able to catch up with the regular customers and hear about their lives.

"There have been times when someone has come up to me and asked 'how are your parents' or they'll say 'we remember you from when you were a little kid!' which is quite funny."

He said the supermarket industry has undergone significant changes since his career began in 1997, from the uniform he wears to the store processes and customer needs.

"A lot has changed since I first started - some good things including our digital offering and online ordering which is really convenient for our customers.

"The uniform has changed over the years - I've personally gone from a white shirt to a blue shirt and now our familiar red shirts."

When asked for his top tips on a long-lasting career, Mr Rickman emphasised the importance of a good team culture and having a job you enjoy.

"I think my main tip is to have fun and find things to enjoy in every day.

"While it's important to be professional, it's also important to not take life too seriously. It also makes such a difference if you are able to work with a supportive team, and having a great culture makes coming to work even better."