Big W Mandurah's longest serving team member celebrates 25 years with store

When Karen Wilson started as a casual night fill worker at Big W 25 years ago, she never imagined she would still be with the company all these years later and the fulfillment she would get at her job.

"I never thought I would end up working at Big W for so long. I started off as a casual 'night filler' and thought it would only be a temporary job," the Country Roads woman said.

"Then I had my children, and because it was such a wonderful and supportive place to work, I moved into a part-time role which fit so easily with my family life."

Those two children were born locally at Pinjarra hospital where Ms Wilson's husband grew up and they are now adults.

Longest serving team member Karen Wilson and store manager Carl Teede. Photo: Claire Sadler.

Longest serving team member Karen Wilson and store manager Carl Teede. Photo: Claire Sadler.

Ms Wilson says one of the reasons she has stuck around so long is her love of books.

"Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a great love for books. The book section in our Big W is such a wonderful place to be and where I try and spend most of my time. We have such a huge selection of books and I love to see families come in and trawl the isles for their favourites," she said.

"I am proudly known or referred to as the 'Book Lady' from Big W, around town and in the shopping centre. I have many regular customers that come in store to visit me weekly and we chat about the books we love and any new books - as they know I am their 'go to' when it comes to new releases!

"I am also really proud of the Free Books For Kids program which BIG W started a few years ago - twice a year we give away books to families and it really is a special time for me as I get to see hundreds of families and excited kids get excited about books, and hopefully reading."

When asked about her memories of her early days as a Big W team member Ms Wilson said: "Back in the day, Big W was one of the few places in town where you could get a bit of everything all in the one place. We even had a fantastic hardware section with a dedicated paint counter which was always super busy. I don't think there was a family in town that didn't love to come in for a browse after school pick up or over the weekend.

Of course the store has changed significantly over the years, from the products and brands it sells, to the layout of the store.

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"We have gone through big renovations and updates in the last 20 years," Ms Wilson said.

"The technology we have of course is different, and even how we process orders is vastly different to when I first started. We have a whole dedicated team now to picking and filling online orders that go out for delivery or for customers that want to come and pick up in store.

"I have lived in Mandurah for over 40 years now and have seen it grow from a country town to a thriving city with many new shopping centres, train stations, upgrades to the foreshore and there are a lot more houses."

Ms Wilson said of her time at Big W: "The friendships and connections that I have made over the years have made it such a fun and special place to come each and every week".

Big W Mandurah will be celebrating its 25th birthday this Friday, September 25.