Bowling Green says goodbye to a familiar face

He's climbed the ladder of success in Bowling Green, Mo. for the last 45 years. And it'll come to an end this week as Phil Robinson says goodbye to his job at IGA Hickman's.

It all began in 1967. Robinson was a sophomore in highschool when he got a job at Hickman's as a bag boy.

"I made a $1.10 an hour," Robinson said.

A lot's changed since his first years on the job.

"Minimum wage is up to $7.35," Robinson said.

Robinson says he never had to ask, "paper or plastic" back in the day. It was always paper.

"I used to price items with a handgun and ink. Now, everything is scanned. It's computerized," Robinson said.

From bag boy to store manager, "the whole time, it's always been with IGA," Robinson said.

"It's been 45 years, 46 ... yea, It's a long time," Robinson said.

He's spent more than four decades at the same store, building lasting relationships with his staff and customers.

"If I don't know them by name, I know them by face," Robinson said.

He made the decision to retire about 6 months ago.

"I want to spend time with my grandchildren," Robinson said. "And be able to hunt and fish."

His time with IGA will come to an close this Saturday. It will be a bittersweet moment for Robinson and many of his 32 employees.

"He's pretty special to every one of us. If we ever have any problems, he's there to get us through it and that's the reason why the years fly by," Ann Niemeyer Glass, the bakery and deli manager said.

"It's been a long time and some good roads. He's been a great boss, like a dad. It's kind of like losing your dad. It'll be hard us, but it'll be good, it'll be fine. I hope he has a great retirement and comes to see us every once in a while," Steve Sisson, assistant manager said.

If you ask Robinson what he enjoyed most over the years, he'll tell you it's been the younger generations of workers he's hired over the years.

"The stories they tell and things they do, I guess it just keeps you upbeat a little bit," Robinson said.

Robinson continues to stay upbeat with yet another change. IGA will pass the torch to a new set of owners, the Niemanns, who plan to take over the store on April 4. The signs will read County Market, but staff are hopeful not too much else will change.

"It'll bring strength to the area. I really feel that way," Robinson said.

Employees at IGA Hickman's say they're on schedule for interviews with County Market in the coming week. While his retirement is set for this Saturday, Robinson says he'll be on hand until April 4.