CLAYTON — After nearly 60 years of fixing other people’s items, helping customers find the right tools and offering advice on home repairs, an 85-year-old employee of Hudson’s Hardware is calling it a day.
Raymond Medlin’s last day at the store was July 24. When he arrived at work that morning, a sign greeted him: “Mr. Raymond retires after 20 years.”
Co-workers and his family surprised him with lunch, cake and balloons.
“I’ve had good customers and good help,” said Medlin, who expects he’ll still come to the store as a customer.
A native of Franklin County, Medlin began his long career in hardware in 1953 at Wimpy’s in Garner. He had just returned from serving in the U.S. Army in the Korean War.
Medlin worked at the store for 39 years until it closed on a Sunday in 1992. The next day, he started work at Hudson’s.
Store Manager Jamie Boyd has worked with Medlin for 17 years. He says the store won’t be the same without him.
“Customers are going to be shocked when he’s not here,” Boyd said. “He’s been the face of Hudson’s for a while.”
Medlin is a rarity these days; he has the know-how to fix all sorts of things – from lawnmowers to lamps to plumbing equipment.
“If anything’s broke, a customer will bring it in, and he’ll carry it home and fix it or find out what they need to fix it,” said Medlin’s granddaughter, Amber Jarman.
Both his family and coworkers refer to Medlin as “Mr. Fix-it.”
At the store, his specialty was working in the plumbing department.
Medlin said he doesn’t plan to stop fixing things just because he is retiring. He said he’ll still help people fix items whenever they need him to. He’ll also get to spend more time with his wife, Gladys.
Medlin has two daughters, Teresa Pryse and Rhonda Hill; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.