Terang will farewell long-serving Co-op general manager Charlie Duynhoven with a special community event on March 15.
Mr Duynhoven is retiring after 43 years with the Co-op, including the past 18 years as General Manager.
The Co-op Board is hosting a farewell afternoon tea for Mr Duynhoven from 2-4pm on Wednesday, March 15 at the Civic Hall Rose Room.
Mr Duynhoven will retire on March 24 and plans to relocate to Melbourne. New CEO Kevin Ford will start on March 27.
Mr Duynhoven, who turned 60, last year, said he was leaving with a lot of positive memories.
“To see how the Co-op has grown has been very rewarding,” he said.
He was appointed general manager in February 1999 and highlights since then have included relocating hardware from the basement of the main building to a new HOME Hardware store, upgrading and expanding the supermarket, extending the CRT Rural Store, establishing a dairy services team, and venturing out of Terang/Noorat for the first time with the purchase of the Camperdown HOME Hardware and Timber store.
“As a team we’ve achieved pretty much everything we set out to achieve and the Co-op remains in a strong position,” he added.
Mr Duynhoven also commended the Co-op for giving young people in the community the opportunity to start their working careers. “It’s been wonderful to see kids grow and develop with the working experience,” he said.
Mr Duynhoven said the time was right to retire but there was a lot he would miss about the Co-op after dedicating most of his working life to the business. “I’ll mostly miss working with the team,” he said. “I’ve built up a lot of good working relationships with everyone; the managers, the staff, the Board and the community.”
He sees a positive future for the Co-op and he remains a staunch supporter of the philosophy behind the co-operative system.
“There is a strategy plan being put into place to guide the future. The Co-op is always looking for services that Terang doesn’t have and to make sure it meets the needs of members and the local community.”
“The Co-op is owned and supported by the local community and an integral part of the fabric of Terang. We work together well and I see a bright future.”
Terang Co-op Board Chairman Brendan Kenna described Mr Duynhoven as an “exemplary leader”.
“Charlie has given the Co-op 43 years of service which is really a lifetime of work,” he said.
“He started in the business as a furniture sales assistant and has risen through the ranks to become the general manager and in that time has seen rapid growth in the business,” Mr Kenna said.
“When Charlie took over as General Manager the Co-op wasn’t in good shape but he was able to get things back on track and successfully manage it back into profit and substantial growth,” he said.
The Co-op’s business success has been matched by its reputation as a good place to work under Mr Duynhoven.
“Charlie is very popular amongst the staff and gets the best out of everybody which makes him a very good manager,” Mr Kenna said. “He’s always had the interests of the Co-op at heart.”
Mr Duynhoven said he is looking forward to spending time with family and travelling once he retires.
The afternoon tea is open to the community.