Alfred Vidler, the ardent delicatessen manager at family-owned independent supermarket Jempson’s of Peasmarsh, has retired after 42 years of dedicated service.
The renowned and charismatic Alfred began his illustrious career in 1979 while Harold Jempson and Michael Bailey were at the helm. Back then Jempson’s was just one small self-service store with around 25 staff.
Alfred has many memories of his time at Jempson’s and has seen considerable growth and changes to the business. He recalls in the early days every morning at 9:30am the bell rang once, signalling all men to go for their coffee break, and again at 10am for the ladies.
He also remembers the bread strike, when Jempson’s bakers were tirelessly working all day and night making thousands of loaves of bread a week, never turning a customer away! And the expansion of the business within the old shop after it nearly being burnt down in 1997 (his beloved deli counter was completely destroyed).
Also the opening of a brand-new superstore on the Peasmarsh site in 2001, to the enlargement of the business with supermarkets, convenience stores, cafés, online home delivery, and the acquisition of the Rye Bakery business.
As one of the most longstanding members of the team, owner Stephen Jempson has fond memories of Alf’s time at Peasmarsh, most notably his legendary love of cake! “It was nothing for him to eat 5 or 6 for the morning coffee break” said Stephen. “Alf was always a team player, and he’s organised mini-golf tournaments for the students at Camber.
“I will always remember his wonderful rapport with customers and his fondness for singing Christmas carols, as well as his whistling!” he continued. “I can remember even making Alf get his first passport and us going to the food markets in Paris, where we’d source fresh produce and delicious cheeses for the counter”.
“A lot of nostalgia and memories, but in essence a wonderfully loyal, honest and hardworking gentleman, who has been a true asset, thank you, it’s much appreciated” he concluded “Best wishes for a happy retirement Alfred, you will forever be a Jempson’s ‘Local Hero’, we will miss you”
Image Credits: Jempsons .