AFTER 40 years, Judi Vihm can still remember her first day at NuFruit Wangaratta.
Her first job was working in White’s; a chain shoe store which eventually shut down, but thanks to Ken Clarke she applied for a job at the credit union which she didn’t get.
“I was the second choice for the job after a university student,” she said.
“But she didn’t last a week so I started working there, just doing repetitive stuff on their one computer.
“That’s where I met the manager of NuFruit at the time and I followed him when he left for that job.”
Judi was 21, had just had her first child and was worried about starting a job so soon after becoming a mother.
“I had no intentions of coming but times were tough and my husband was out of work so I decided to take the job,” she said.
“He had told everyone I’d worked on a computer and they were amazed.
“I can remember the first day; it was just a tin shed then, nothing like it is today and only about two people in the office as it had only been going for about 5 years.
“Back then I came in for the money but I obviously stayed for 40 years and it became a family.
“I’ve been so proud watching it grow to what it is now and being a part of that; I worked for the dads and now I work for the sons and there’s now one of their sons in the warehouse so three generations.”
Judi started work in the office, writing up the ledgers and filing the money donations, with no computers or mobile phones to help.
“It was all manual and hands on with no women in the warehouse,” she said.
“In some ways it was easier and in some ways it was harder because computers can do so much now; if the phones went out back then we had to go to the phone box and take orders on that.
“Now I work more with ordering as far as stock goes; talking to growers, buying things, checking stock in the warehouse.
“I also enjoy forecasting for the supermarkets; you forecast what you’re going to sell because you’re dealing with highly perishable items so you have to get it right, but once you do it long enough you get better at it.
“There hasn’t been a dull moment over the 40 years; we’ve been blown up, flooded and moved about due to those incidents and renovations.
“I’ve been very lucky though, I’ve had good people around me all the way.
“I’ve now raised three girls who all turned our fine despite me worrying about working while having children; but I always made it to their sport and weekend activities.
“I’ve now got eight grandchildren too so I’m very proud of that as well.”
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