Lowe’s employee hits 45 years

Published 8:20 pm Thursday, April 28, 2011

Employees at the Suffolk Lowe’s celebrated 45 years of service for coworker Buddy Butler on Thursday. Butler is the longest-serving employee in the company’s history. From left, district manager Charles Housden; regional manager Bill Valentine; Butler; and Suffolk store manager Curtis Pierce.

One Lowe’s employee celebrated a unique milestone Thursday with family, friends and coworkers.

Buddy Butler, an employee of the Suffolk home improvement store, celebrated his 45-year anniversary with Lowe’s. It’s the longest any of the company’s 240,000 employees have worked for the organization.

“I just love my job,” said the 69-year-old Butler, who’s worked at three different locations and for 31 store managers. “We have good management here, and they care about the employees. Everybody here is team-focused.”

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Butler began working in Scott’s Building Supply in 1963. That company was bought out by Lowe’s in April 1966, and Butler has been a Lowe’s employee ever since.

“I’ve seen it grow from a small company to a multi-billion dollar company,” he said.

Butler began working at the Portsmouth Boulevard Lowe’s location in Suffolk. The store later moved to Godwin Boulevard, then to its current location on North Main Street.

The job at Lowe’s helped Butler support his wife, Betty, and their five children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“Buddy’s a great guy,” said Curtis Pierce, the store manager in Suffolk. “The time that I’ve been here, Buddy certainly does a great job for us.”

Pierce said a woman in the corporate office trails behind Butler by about four or five months for length of service.

Butler enjoyed a party Thursday morning at the store with coworkers, family and friends. He received a cash award and a visit from the company’s regional vice president. The company president was scheduled to come, but his flight was canceled because of the weather. He still will visit next month, Pierce said.

Curtis Ralph, a coworker, said Butler taught him everything he knows about receiving, the department where the two men work.

“He’s a wonderful guy to work with,” said Ralph. “I’m still learning from him today. We’re close, just like family. He’s like a big brother.”

Butler said receiving, despite being the least visible department to the general public, is one of the most important in the store.

“That’s an important job,” he said. “If it’s not received in right, it will never be right. It affects the whole workings of the store.”

After 45 years, Butler said he doesn’t plan to quit.

“If my health is still good, I’m going to make it to 50 years,” he said. “I never knew I’d stay here this long, but it’s been a wonderful road.”