Friends notch up 99 years with Brooks shops in Lanark

Working on after decades of services.
Working on after decades of services.

Two friends have clocked up one year short of a century between them working for the same family-run business.

Doreen Sage was 18 when she was hired by Brooks Shops in Lanark in 1965 – the year the mini skirtfirst became fashionable.

And Audrey Dickson was just 16 when she joined what is one of Scotland’s oldest family businesses in 1970.

The women, aged 70 and 63 respectively, say they “have had a ball” over the years and have no plans to retire.

Managing director Alastair Brooks said the women, whom he has known his entire life, continued to be “real assets” to the family firm, established in 1853.

“It is incredible to think that Doreen and Audrey have worked for Brooks for a combined 99 years,” said the 42-year-old.

“They have helped dress generations of men and women across Lanarkshire.

“It has been a real joy for me and my sister to work with them.”

Mrs Sage, who works in menswear at the High Street-based business, said: “It is incredible to think that I have worked for the same company for 52 years.

“It has just gone like a flash. I cannot believe it, to be honest.

“Over the years ,I have made some nice friends, and I have got to know all the family.

“I have worked for Alexander Brooks, whose son Robert took over the clothing side of the business, and now his son Alastair and daughter Gillian run it.

“There have been happy times and sad times, but overall I have thoroughly enjoyed working for Brooks.”

Despite challenging times for the retail trade and changing shopping habits, Mrs Sage of Lanark said she firmly believes there is still a place for family firms on the high street.

“It is a modern business, but attentive personal service is the hallmark of Brooks,” she added.

“The personal touch makes a real difference, and people appreciate that.”

Mrs Dickson, who manages the womenswear shop, says she still enjoys her job immensely.

“Working for the same company for 47 years is a very long time, but it has gone very quickly because it has been good fun,” she said.

“Doreen was here when I started, and she has become a lifelong friend.

“We have had laughter, we have had tears, and it is just marvellous.”

Mrs Dickson said she remembered her first day in the job like it was yesterday.

“I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and walked round the block four times before finally going in,” she recalled.

“The manageress at the time was very old-fashioned but was very friendly and welcoming, as were all the staff.

“I had just come out of college and was looking for a job.

“I sent letters round many of the shops in the town.

“Robert Brooks picked up on it, and at the interview, he admitted he was looking to hire a boy, but he obviously saw something in me, and I have been with Brooks ever since.”

Brooks owns four shops – selling menswear, shoes and womenswear in Lanark – and one selling furnishings in Carluke, run by Alex Brooks.