Fran Says Goodbye00:00 AM September 11, 2017
For the past twenty years customers at the Prophetstown grocery store, currently know as Shaw’s Marketplace and formally known as Mr. G’s, have been greeted in the checkout lane by a friendly, caring, knowledgeable employee; Fran Pearson. Last Friday marked Fran’s last day at the grocery store and at 81 she has decided to take some time for herself.
Frannie spent most of her day receiving well wishes and hugs from customers that she has had since she began working in the store in July of 1997. Balloons, a cake, cards, and a sign on the front door wishing her well, were all part of the celebration.
Store owner Bob Hathaway said, “Fran was an outstanding employee who never missed a day of work. She was a great trainer of new employees and we wish her nothing but the best.”
Pearson returned the compliment saying,” I will miss Bob and Jill very much. They were wonderful to work for and I could have not asked for better bosses.” Pearson was also very complementary of Reg and Janet Gage, the previous owners of the store, saying they too were great people to work for.
Fran said her new lifestyle will take some getting used to. She always started her day at the Prophet Mini-Mart having coffee with friends before opening the store for the day. Prior to coming to work in Prophetstown she spent seventeen years as a waitress at the Dutch Diner in Tampico. She also helped do chores on the family farm.
During her tenure she did several jobs including stocking shelves, ordering items, and of course checking out customers. The checkout lane has changed many times over the years as she went from keying in each item’s price to scanning them.
One of her biggest thrills at work was seeing the next generation of customers, especially those of friends and employees. Longtime colleague Evelyn Fouts said Fran had been to all her children’s major school events over the years such as musicals and Prom Grand Marches.
Fran worked with and trained dozens of high school students who worked part-time in the store and delighted in seeing them return over the years, many with their children.
When asked about a funny incident at the store she related a story about seeing a mouse near the cash register area. The Gages owned the store at the time so Fran immediately let Reg know about the problem. “He went back to the stock room and returned with the broom while Janet brought a box hoping to catch it. As soon as Reg saw the mouse he ran to a corner while Janet was able to corral the rodent and threw him outside. I don’t like mice but I think Reg liked them even less!” she said laughing.
Pearson says she plans on enjoying life and catching up at home. She also hopes to take some day trips to see family and friends. “I’m going to miss the people I worked with and all the customers. They were all such friendly people.”