She’s ‘Convenient-ly’ retiring after nearly 40 years at store
WEIRTON — Peggy Cottrill of Weirton is beginning a new routine today, one that “conveniently” doesn’t involve going to work.
Wednesday was transition day for the nearly 40-year employee of the Convenient on Weirton Heights as she wrapped up her last day as a longtime employee of the store on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Now when she returns to what has been a home away from home, she’ll be on the other side of the counter and deli in a new capacity — as a customer.
The 1972 graduate of Weir High School said she started working at the store when it was new and opened in 1979 by her second cousin, Dan Cottrill.
“My starting date was Dec. 18, I do believe, in 1979, but I’m not sure — it’s been too long ago,” Cottrill said with a laugh during an interview her last week of work.
She came on board as a clerk and working the deli, which she especially enjoyed, and when asked to supervise “I said yes, but I don’t want it permanent. Now 35 some years later, I’m still doing it, but I enjoyed it. I didn’t mind. It was nice. We stayed open until midnight, and I would work 5 to midnight or 4 to midnight, and I started four nights a week and one day,” she said.
That she has worked at one job for so long is a rarity, she agrees, in today’s employment climate where people may change jobs with frequency.
Being a store fixture means she knows people, and they know her.
“The people make you enjoy the job,” Cottrill said. “The people can be very funny, they can be rude, and they can be obnoxious, but those people do not outweigh the good. The one thing about the public is if you treat them the way they want to be treated, they will respect you and will like you, and that’s all there is to it,” she added.
“When I first started I told Danny I am only going to do this temporary until I find another job, because I wasn’t getting full time when I started, and then after a while I thought I really like this. I like the interaction with the public because they can be exceptionally nice, and you meet a lot of friends, and God knows how many people I have trained in my lifetime,” Cottrill said.
Some customers patronize the store as many as two or three times a day, and Cottrill can even anticipate their purchases.
“They used to tease me that I could ring them up before they even got out of their car,” she said. “Most people buy the same thing every day, even if they’re buying hot food. How can you eat fried chicken every day? I just can’t do it,” she said with a chuckle.
“It’s been a great 39 years,” said Cottrill, who anticipated some tears Wednesday, but maintains retiring is the right decision. “I think it’s time,” she said. “You make friends that will last a lifetime, you do. There are some people you see every day you like, and some you hope you never do, but that’s anywhere you work,” she said.
Some of her retirement time will be devoted to helping care for her parents, Glenn and Gwen Cottrill, giving her siblings Greg Cottrill and Camille Pialet some respite, she said.
“This way my brother and sister can have a little more freedom,” she said.
“I told Frank if you get stuck, somebody goes on vacation, call and if I can come, I’ll come, but they’ll come first,” she said of her comment to her boss, Frank Rosiak. “He’s a good guy. I never had a bad boss. I had some I sort of wondered about but never had a bad one, and there’s a lot of people who can’t say that.”
The store calendar for Wednesday, July 31, had a “No!!!” marked on it with exclamation points in response to Cottrill’s impending retirement.
Co-worker Marie Burton offered an explanation why.
“She is loved, and she’s an amazing woman,” Burton said. “She tells it how it is. She doesn’t hold back, and she’s honest — something you don’t get nowadays. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” she said.
“Customers love Miss Peggy to death because she’s Miss Peggy. She treats people with respect. She’s not fake, she’s not phony. I love Miss Peggy — I’m going to miss her,” Burton added.