For 15 years, Erma Shaffner’s face was one of the first things customers saw when they walked into Elkin’s Walmart.
The local Walmart greeter and cashier has now said her goodbyes, and is embarking on her retirement at age 72.
Prior to her career at Walmart, Shaffner spread the Christian word throughout the South.
Shaffner grew up in Jonesville, attending Jonesville Elementary School and Jonesville High School, before becoming a Christian missionary in South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana.
“When Jesus sent his disciples, he sent them two and two together, and that’s how we were sent too,” Shaffner explained. “I had an older companion and she guided me. The Lord teaches us and we learned from our companions.”
After 21 years of mission work, Shaffner returned home to Jonesville to take care of her mother, Maxie Gentry Shaffner.
“I came home and took care of my mom for about 12 years, and it was after Mom died that I got a job at Walmart.”
It was Shaffner’s pleasant disposition that landed her the job 15 years ago, said Tammy Stone, personnel manager at Elkin’s Walmart. “She was just very friendly and pleasant,” Stone said.
Shaffner said interacting with customers was her favorite part of her job. “I got acquainted with the people and I liked that part, that part was very interesting,” she said. “That was probably the biggest thing I enjoyed, was my customers, and actually I miss them now.”
Though she will miss her customers and co-workers, Shaffner said that her age was the deciding factor in her choosing to retire. “I wanted a few years to do the things I wanted to because I don’t know about tomorrow so I wanted so time at home,” she said.
“I’m enjoying it but I haven’t really gotten into it yet,” she said. “There’s so much I have to take care of. When everything gets settled down, I’ve got plenty of things that I want to do and I’m looking forward to that.”