Averaging 475 transactions per register per week, Russell had served more than a million customers.
It was Sunday morning at the Kmart on US-19 in Clearwater, Florida. Marty “Kmarty” Russell had already rung up a half dozen customers when the announcement boomed from the intercom.
She’d come armed with package of tissues, just in case.
"We’re here to celebrate Marty for her retirement from 44 years of service," human resources manager Shirley St. Onge told shoppers. "I am sure within the company, there are few stores that can boast about an associate that has opened and closed a store. On this day, January, 28, 2018, we declare it ‘Kmarty Day.’"
Russell, 66, had worked at that very same Kmart location since the day it opened, Tampa Bay Times reports. She was there in August 1973 when it opened with the snip of yellow ribbon, and she was there when it closed this past weekend, aisles covered in yellow “Everything Must Go!” signs.
When she started, Russell was making $3 an hour working in the deli. More than four decades later, working as a cashier in the garden center, she had pension and a 401k. By the end, she was making $10.05 an hour. According to Russell, that was enough.
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Store manager Rich Mullen the math for the Times. Averaging 475 transactions per register per week, Russell had served more than a million customers. It’s safe to say she earned her nickname: "KMarty."
Over the course of 44 years behind a register, Russell became close to her coworkers. One even introduced her to her husband, David.
Despite several rounds of nationwide closures since Kmart filed for bankruptcy in 2002, Russell was shocked when she found out that her store was closing. For now, her plan is to continue running a few booths at the Oldsmar Flea Market with her husband.
But beyond that, "I don’t know how I’m going to spend my days yet," she told the Times.