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Giving back to the community

Terry Murray

After a career working in textiles, Terry Murray was looking for a new challenge, working with people and giving back to the community. So, becoming a Salvation Army Family Store manager was a perfect fi t for his skills.

Terry is originally from Dalkeith, near Edinburgh, Scotland, but moved to New Zealand in 1977. Back then, he was a 28-year-old with a young family and the world was his oyster. Moving to New Zealand seemed like an exciting new start, and he’s never left.

Terry spent 30 years as a manager for textile companies in Wellington and Christchurch, with companies from carpet giants Feltex to a small family start-up. Eventually, he decided he needed a change, spending four years working at IDEA Services, helping disabled clients get jobs, before becoming the Lower Hutt Family Store manager.

While at IDEA Services Terry worked with the Lower and Upper Hutt Family Stores, arranging for clients to do work experience there. After leaving IDEA Services, he was looking for a way to keep working with people, and when the Family Store manager’s job came up it seemed like a great fit with his skills. A chance to give back was also important, he said.

‘Most of my years I have worked for employers where it was all for profi t, so it makes a nice change. The last six or seven years working with the Army gave me an opportunity to give back to the community, so that was a factor.’

After 18 months in Lower Hutt he moved to the Naenae store and then the Upper Hutt store for three years, before moving back to Christchurch with family last year, where he opened a new Family Store in Hornby.

One highlight of the job was doing an annual ANZAC display in the shop window with donated memorabilia, photos and the like. Starting the Hornby store with a clean slate was an exciting challenge. With the chance to do things his way, Terry decided to set up the store to be more like other new retail outlets springing up in the area, rather than the traditional look of a second-hand store. He worked on everything— from making the flow of the shop simpler, giving people lots of space, and reducing clutter. It’s getting good feedback from customers, and the blueprint might be used for other stores in Christchurch.

Terry likes building a strong team of staff and said staff input was key to a shop’s success. He also likes helping them develop as people and making sure people enjoy their time at the store.

‘People are people; they’re not numbers. We treat them with courtesy and we do that for everybody. So long as I can send my staff away knowing they really want to come back tomorrow, because they have enjoyed being here, that’s my goal.’

Ultimately, though, it’s about helping out, he said. ‘The end objective for me is to have a successful shop that is helping Th e Salvation Army’s mission in Christchurch. All the other stuff comes together to get that happening.’

by Terry Murray (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 15 November 2014, pp9.
You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.