Harry Smyth has been playing a key role in the retail trade around Lurgan for the past 30 years.
Over the last six years he has been the manager at the Tesco store at Millennium Way but his career in the town goes back much further.
He’ll have been a familiar face to many as manager at the old Stewarts store in the town and even had a spell at Crazy Prices at Rushmere, or Craigavon Shopping Centre as it was in those days.
In between times he’s also had a stint in Newcastle.
The 55-year-old has had a good long stay in Lurgan, managing the store in the town when it was based at Castle Lane, coming back after the store moved to its new premises off Millennium Way.
He said: “A lot of customers to the store I would have known since my Stewarts days. Tesco bought over Stewarts in 1996.”
Of coming back to the new store he said: “There was a massive difference between the old store and the new, which is a purpose built Tesco store.”
Indeed Harry’s stay in the town has been longer than most managers within Tesco get as they move their managers around every few years to keep the ideas and energy as fresh as their produce. He took over at their Enniskillen store on Monday, with the long commute from his Moira home.
Asked what he will take away from Lurgan he said the friendliness and generosity of its people had impressed him most: “Along with them being the most welcoming and friendliest people you could wish to meet, they are among the most generous.
“Tesco Lurgan is consistently in the top one or two in Northern Ireland and also in the top 10 in the UK for charity fundraising.
“We have raised £22,000 over the past year for Diabetes UK (a very topical and worthwhile charity presently) and in the previous year £15,000 for Alzheimer’s. Each year a good part of the funds raised stay in NI and we also helped countless schools and organisations based in Lurgan with their events and fundraising.
“To put this into context we can raise more in Lurgan than stores twice our size and in some of the biggest cities across the UK. It’s all down to the fantastic people in Lurgan and a very energetic charity committee in the Lurgan Tesco.”
Harry has been married to his wife Joyce for 27 years and they have four children, Matthew (20) who is studying Civil Engineering at Queen’s, Louise (19) studying at Stranmillis and twins Matthew and Ben who are starting their GCSEs.