When we were shopping at the new Lee Valley Store in Waterloo, Toni and I observed that all the staff, with exception of one youngish woman, were older men. Old men, some of them.
They were certainly of retirement age, and if I had had my wits about me, I would have chatted them up and heard their stories. I would love to know what they did before they came to Lee Valley. I'm willing to bet that they retired from careers in banking or education or whatever and used their woodworking hobby as a passport to a part time job where they could surround themselves with cool tools and give help to fellow hobbyists.
In any case, I think it is brilliant that LV employs people who look like they know what they are talking about. Whom would you rather consult about a new lathe or bandsaw? Some young whippersnapper who doesn't know an awl from an eggtimer or that kindly looking older guy who has an entire woodshop in his basement?
But if the company wins big time, so do these older employees. They must be so happy to have found the perfect retirement niche where they are actually paid to do what they love.
And I also imagine a lot of happy wives who make plans for "ladies' day out" on those Lee Valley work days!