Christy is looking forward to ploughing on at Field’s Supermarket in Skibbereen

January 29th, 2022 11:40 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Christy with Ruth and John Field outside the well-known supermarket in Skibbereen

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AT the age of 68, the manager of the Field’s SuperValu in Skibbereen is showing no signs of slowing down, or retiring.

It’s hard to surprise Christy Dempsey when he is in his domain, but that’s exactly what happened when his 50th work anniversary was marked in the presence of family, friends and colleagues with cake, champagne and a nice holiday voucher.

Christy, who is from Drinagh, was just 18 when he started working in a shop in Dunmanway but word went out that he was a phenomenally good worker.

John Field invited him to give his shop a look over and Christy liked what he saw – the range and diversity of the goods on sale. He worked the Christmas rush with his original employer before starting in Field’s in the first week of January.

According to Ruth Field, Christy and John have a similar work ethic. ‘There’s no telling people what to do at Field’s,’ she said. ‘John and Christy just lead by example. They started out working shoulder-to-shoulder, and they’re still doing that 50 years later.’

The principle on which the success of the shop is based is that John and Christy ‘buy to sell, and they look after the customers.’

‘They know everyone by name and are on the floor all the time, doing fish, doing meat, doing everything,’ said Ruth.

‘We don’t have a management structure as such, there’s just a management team and everyone is on that from John to Christy to Adam, Richard, Barry Jason, Pat and me.

‘People are empowered in their own jobs to make decisions and manage their own teams within their own department.’

Christy’s wife Helen, his children Barry, Elaine and Ronan, and all of the grandchildren attended the presentation ceremony earlier this month.

Christy told The Southern Star he enjoys work every day and is glad to have the health to do it.

Over the years he has seen a lot of changes. ‘I started the year after the decimal currency was introduced, and since then we’ve had a few devaluations and another currency change,’ he said. ‘We had to add up the dockets but now we are completely computerised. We have also gone into a lot of West Cork produce, which is great because there is so much good food being produced locally.’

What makes it all work so well, according to Christy, is their large and loyal staff. ‘We are very proud of our staff, some of whom have been here nearly as long as myself. ‘The reason they stay with us is because they feel happy here. They know they are appreciated,’ he added. As for himself, he said, ‘I’m happy, and happy to keep working.’

Christy said he would like to sincerely thank John Field. ‘The fact that he is so forward looking is how we’re all here today,’ he said.

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