At cutting edge for 50 years

Cindy Preller

50 OF BEST: Volpes cutting room supervisor, Shariefa Uren, left, factory manager Dudley Durr and chief executive Chuck Volpe. Picture: CINDY PRELLER
50 OF BEST: Volpes cutting room supervisor, Shariefa Uren, left, factory manager Dudley Durr and chief executive Chuck Volpe. Picture: CINDY PRELLER

SHE started working at Volpes when she was just a teenager, stayed on at the family-run business for half a century and has no plans to retire any time soon.

Shariefa Uren, 64, started working at Volpes in 1964 at the age of just 14 to support her nine siblings after her parents died. On Friday she celebrated working at the company’s factory for 50 years by getting a Volpes Lifetime Award.

From cutting loose threads off fabric at the factory, Uren worked in the ironing and needlework divisions, before becoming the supervisor of the cutting table division – a position she has filled for more than 30 years.

Volpes chief executive Chuck Volpe has known Uren for most of his life, since the colleagues have an age gap of only a few days between them.

“Shariefa’s job is the most important part of our manufacturing business – it is the most responsible job in the factory.

“She is a highly valued senior member of staff and started with us when there were just four employees working here,” Volpe said.

His father, Reuben, established Volpes in 1929 with just £100 borrowed from an uncle, and in 1952 started his own factory, which today employs 150 people in Struandale.

Chuck joined the linen manufacturing and distribution company in 1970.

Uren said she had never been interested in changing jobs once she started at Volpes.

“You do what you have to do to better your life. I was never interested in moving and am blessed with good health,” Uren said.

As a 50-year celebration gift, Uren was presented with a glass dining room table and white chairs, with a matching server.

 

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