When you live in a small community you recognise the locals even if you don’t know them. A nod, a smile, a greeting in the street might be all you exchange.
In the Wingham supermarket, must customers would know the smiling face and cheerful demeanor of Katrina Greenaway. Sometimes you see her photo in the sports pages of The Chronicle, clutching another golf trophy.
We invited Katrina to coffee (she drank water) to share a little bit of her life story.
‘I’m a local girl, born and bred, though we did move to Port Macquarie for a bit during my schooldays. But when I finished Year 10 I said to Mum, “I want to move back to Wingham.” Mum asked why and I said because it’s a friendly town, a nice lifestyle and I love it. So my parents moved back in 1990 and we’ve been here ever since.’
Her sister Kylie stayed in Port and became a hairdresser but now works in retail at Big W. Katrina started at Wingham’s Bi Lo which became Coles and last year celebrated 25 years of service.
During this time Katrina has become a keen observer of people and most customers know her too. Having worked with “at least half a dozen managers” she must be Cole’s greatest local asset.
Katrina has never seen a celebrity like Curtis Stone, the chef who does their TV ads, in store, ‘But we have a lovely old gentleman come in at 6am every day when we open just to get his newspaper.’
She says she gets a kick out of knowing all our customers, their buying habits, their families and also helping ease the shopping experience, dealing diplomatically with customer complaints.
‘Any complaint is followed up very seriously. I also encourage people to request a favourite product if it’s been taken off the shelves. Let us know and we’ll try to get in for you.’ She is first to acknowledge if a customer goes in for one thing they’ll come out with at least five items. ‘I’m the same,’ she laughs.
While the big supermarket in Wingham might be the only game in town, Katrina agrees there’s a place for the organic and specialist farmers market type outlets. She’s sad to see the butcher go from Coles, but glad he’s landed in Taree where Coles will continue to cut meat.
‘Most of the meat here will come from a central source, possibly Sydney, already packaged ready to sell.’
And the most popular item sold?
Katrina shrugs, ‘Have to say, as it’s on sale, that it’s slabs of Coke Cola.’
Like many of us, Katrina is concerned at the waste. ‘People complain they can’t take the fruit and vegie scraps away for the chooks anymore. Dented tins, not even past their use by date have to be dumped too. The meat that’s marked down, if it registers as a minute past its’ used by date I’m not allowed to sell it.’
Katrina notes too that because of our changed eating habits, how we used to eat what was available in season but now expect the produce to be available all year round. ‘ Also people don’t cook as much anymore it seems, as they buy more packaged and prepared meals, like frozen dinners.’
Katrina works half day shifts with one day off a week when she plays golf. And for someone so successful and devoted to the game, it’s a surprise when she says,
‘I was never sporty at school and I just fell into golf about eight years when a neighbour suggested I go and have a game. I’ll try anything, have a go is second nature to me. They showed me a couple of things and I picked up the club and swung and the ball went straight down the middle.’ She laughs, ‘That’s all I do – hit it straight down the middle. Once I stepped onto that Wingham golf course, I never looked back. I just love it.’
She took up indoor cricket as well for a time, but now prefers to concentrate on her golf. She plays two or three times a week “at least” as well as regular “comp” events. She’s won numerous events, foursomes, match play and Katrina also sponsors a Ladies Match Day each year. She enjoys playing in tournaments up and down the coast and especially likes South West Rocks.
‘We didn’t win there last time but we had fun, so I’m going back this year to play in the Jewel of the Coast comp in November with a couple of girlfriends. I play pennants at Tallwoods, Harrington, Forster, all the local clubs. I really enjoy it and it keeps me fit.’ (As striding around 18 holes several days a week would!) ‘Though if it’s a hot day I’ll treat myself to a cart.’
She lives with her Mum and Dad, cooks dinner for them all most nights. And is happy she is able to be there for them.
‘I did live away from home for about two weeks when I was engaged but that didn’t work out so I moved back home. Ever since my brother Ryan was killed in a car accident in Sydney a few years back, they’ve never really recovered. It’s hard when you lose someone close to you. I have my times when I miss him, especially birthdays and such. I still get upset on my birthday as he used to always ring me, we were close. But since Ryan died, Kylie, my sister, and I have got closer. She has two beaut boys and Mum and I go up to see them in Port every second week.’
Katrina has no desire to travel overseas, ‘Well, not yet. Maybe one day.’ She’s a woman without envy, happy in her skin and with her life; ‘I love doing what I’m doing.’
And most customers would agree, Katrina is the friendly face who helps make a visit to the supermarket a cheerful experience.