By Frank Lewis
The day Lisa Payton went to work at Walmart in New Boston, she discovered she was pregnant with her daughter. Now that daughter is getting married on Saturday and Lisa is still working for Walmart.
It all started when her husband suggested she apply for a job at Walmart. She did and was hired.
“I said, ‘I’m just going to stay until my daughter comes,’” Payton said. That stay then grew into a 25 year career.
“This has been my family,” Payton said. “I see them every day. It is wonderful. We are treated wonderfully. There is not a time when I couldn’t go to the store manager and say ‘I have a problem’ and if he can’t give me the answer he’ll find the answer for me.”
Payton is one of 14 current employees who came to work at Walmart in New Boston at their original location when the store opened 25 years ago, something they were celebrating Wednesday at the store.
“Twenty-five years to me is like a milestone,” Walmart New Boston manager Bill Mason said. “That’s going to be one of the questions today – ‘what were you doing 25 years ago?’ These people persevered and went through good times, bad times, leadership changes a lot, company changes. It’s amazing to have that many people who have been here 25 years. I think it’s terrific.”
Mason said the store could not have picked a better place to locate than New Boston.
“New Boston has been terrific,” Mason said. “We have a great relationship with New Boston. I’m personal friends with the mayor (Jim Warren). It’s a great relationship with New Boston. I’ve been here 15 years and it has been that way for 15 years. They (village council) need something, we take care of it. We need something they take care of us.”
Village Councilman Mike Payton, substituting for Warren who remains in a Columbus hospital, said he can hardly believe the New Boston store has been there for a quarter century.
“Twenty-five years. How many places in Scioto County have businesses that have lasted 25 years?” Mike Payton said. “We have had a great working relationship. When they were over in the other mall (now Tractor Supply and Ollies), anything we wanted, boom. They were right there. Bill (Mason) and I have been talking this morning how the relationship has developed over the years.”
Payton said Walmart brings Christmas baskets each year to village employees, and each Christmas season the New Boston band as well as chorus walks through the aisles performing for customers and employees.
Kim Bennett is another 25-year employee.
“In this area it is a good job,” Bennett said. “It is a good opportunity to grow with Walmart. Your options are unlimited. I have been treated very well in the years that I’ve been here. I thank God every day for my job.”
Cathie Hardy has seen a lot of growth and changes in the 25 years she has been at Walmart in New Boston.
“It just seems like anything you want now you can get here,” Hardy said. “I have really enjoyed it here. I’ve met a lot of nice customers over the years. I’ve seen them have kids grow and graduate. It’s been very interesting. They are wonderful to work for. They have really been good to me.”
Mason said employees would be cooking out and feeding everyone on each shift on Wednesday as a way of thanking them for their service to the company.
“I wouldn’t have been here 25 years if it wasn’t a good place,” Hardy said. “It has been a real learning experience. Every day I’m learning things. That makes it interesting. It’s like a family.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.