My Place: Graeme Stead

Graeme Stead. Photo: Joe Mastroianni

By Jessica Micallef

Graeme Stead has worked at 17 different Coles stores across his 43 year career. He is now at Coles Sunbury.  He speaks about his journey and the changes the company has been through.

What is your connection to Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges?

I have lived in Melton for 25 years. I have been a team member at Sunbury Coles supermarket for five years.

What are you passionate about?

For most of my career, I have spent my time working in the fresh foods department. This has driven and fuelled my passion for fresh foods.

You’ve worked at Coles for more than four decades. Tell me about the journey to where you are now at Coles?

I’ve had many different roles since I began my journey in 1975 as a casual team member. Since then, I’ve been employed on a full-time basis in a variety of roles – night stock filler, night duty manager, assistant store manager, co-store manager, department manager for dairy, fresh foods and lastly team leader.

After 36 years of working in a management role, I decided it was time for a change and I stepped down into my current role in the fresh food department.

I should also mention that I met my wife Marie at Coles and together we have nearly 80 years of service.

In four decades, you must have seen a lot of change.

I have worked in 17 different Coles stores throughout Victoria. Over my career span I have seen a vast amount of changes, such as manual paper-based ordering systems to automated computer-based ordering. I believe technology plays a big part at Coles. There is always an improvement in a current system or an advanced new technologic method that will change the way we work. There is always something new just around the corner.

What do you enjoy most about working at Coles?

Over the years, I have met and worked with some amazing people. From those who have supported, guided and mentored me, to those who I have formed close relationships with. These people are what drive success within Coles. Our team at Sunbury is the backbone of the store. We are a family, which makes it enjoyable to come to work each and every day.

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

In my younger adult days, I was a car enthusiast who enjoyed working on and building performance cars. I spent many years drag racing at Calder Park [Raceway] and had many successes along my journey. Since then, I have found a new passion for hobby race cars of the smaller kind.

Also, I’m a very good listener, for those who are ever in need of a chat.