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Woman who dedicated decades of her life to town’s high street retiring after nearly 40 years

PUBLISHED: 14:39 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:00 25 August 2020

Jean Wheeler with her husband David. Picture: Andrew Brasier

Jean Wheeler with her husband David. Picture: Andrew Brasier

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A woman who dedicated almost four decades of her life to a town’s high street has retired.

Argos in Fakenham. Picture: Chris BishopArgos in Fakenham. Picture: Chris Bishop

Jean Wheeler, 70 from Fakenham is retiring from her role as a customer adviser at Argos following the death of her husband, David,, with the uncertainty of working after the coronavirus also influencing her decision.

Mrs Wheeler has been in Fakenham retail for the past 39 years, working in Woolworths for 25 years and Argos for 14.

Having started on the high street in 1981, she worked on the music counter at Woolies and said her relationship with customers is what helped her the most.

“I always had a smile for them”, she said.“I think it was because I was friendly with everyone and helped them as much as I could.

Jean Wheeler said that as tributes started to appear on the town’s Facebook group, she did not realise the job she was doing. Picture: Fakenham Community Notice Board - FacebookJean Wheeler said that as tributes started to appear on the town’s Facebook group, she did not realise the job she was doing. Picture: Fakenham Community Notice Board - Facebook

“I had customers that said they would come to the door and if they did not see me, they would not come in.”

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She left Woolworths 18 months before the high street brand shut down and she said she could see its downfall coming.

“The day I left I said in 18 months the store will be closed and they said ‘I don’t believe you’,” she said. “I could see it coming. You couldn’t get the stock in but could order it online. It was not the same shop anymore.”

Woolworths in Fakenham was on the Market Place in the town. Picture: Google MapsWoolworths in Fakenham was on the Market Place in the town. Picture: Google Maps

Eighteen months after leaving Woolworths, she started at a new Argos store opening in the town.

However, she has now decided she “deserves a rest” following her stint in the business.

She said: “If you have a customer who comes out happy they will come back. If they have a bad experience they will tell 20 or 30 people.”

She added that she had no idea how well known she had become until seeing tributes to her on Facebook.

Jean Wheeler, 70 from Fakenham is retiring from her role as a customer adviser at Argos after the passing of her husband and the uncertainty of working after the coronavirus. Picture: Jean WheelerJean Wheeler, 70 from Fakenham is retiring from her role as a customer adviser at Argos after the passing of her husband and the uncertainty of working after the coronavirus. Picture: Jean Wheeler

“I didn’t think I was thought about in that way. I was just a regular customer assistant”, the 70-year-old said. “It was so nice to hear that sort of thing, and makes me feel proud that I did my job so well for 39 years.”


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