SHE was only there on doctor’s orders, and it was only meant to be for six months.
But 40 years on and thousands of customers later, Brenda Lyons is helping the Asda Eastleigh supercentre celebrate its ruby anniversary as she hangs up her uniform for good.
Sales assistant Brenda – who has never had a day off sick – will be marking the anniversary with colleagues today.
Staff are being encouraged to wear red Tshirts and will have a wall of memorabilia in the cafeteria.
The store, in Chandler’s Ford, which opened as Carrefour in 1974, was one of the first hypermarkets in the country and at the forefront of a shopping revolution, offering residents a number of services under one roof.
Brenda, 68, of Eastleigh, revealed it was thanks to a conversation with her doctor that she got involved. She was concerned about her three-year-old daughter Rachael not sleeping.
“He said ‘There’s nothing we can do, the best thing is to go out and get yourself a job’ – so I blame the doctor for this!” said the grandmotherof- six.
Things were very different in the 1970s store – bread only cost 4p, and every cashier had their own till which they brought in and out at the end of their shift.
There were no credit cards, no barcodes and instead of shelves stacked with food there were cages.
Numerous shops lined the store front, such as an ice cream parlour and a bank.
On its first day 30,000 customers poured into the store.
“We were scared stiff,” said Brenda, who works on the selfservice check-out. “It was a great big store and they were flooding in. There was such an atmosphere, it was brilliant.”
Fellow long-serving staff member Rosemary Kirby, 64, of Eastleigh, said: “When it opened it was the only one of its kind – there wasn’t anything else.”
The store became Gateway in the late 1980s, then Asda.