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The 30-Year Club: Shel, Lai Ling, and Yung

30clubTalk about loyalty! Cole Hardware is fortunate to have three crew members who each celebrated their 30-year anniversaries recently—that’s 90 years of hardware knowledge among them! Meet the crew members: Shel, Cole Valley store manager; Lai Ling, accounting and office manager; and Yung, downtown warehouse manager. Longtime customers will surely recognize Shel as their helpful, friendly hardware man. Shel began his first stint with us during the Carter administration, and he has helped customers through many events, such as the Loma Prieta earthquake, and has witnessed all the changes the Haight and Cole Valley neighborhoods have gone through over the years. Shel and Rick first met in seventh grade and became friends in their ninth-grade public speaking class. In 1979, Rick contacted him when he was looking for someone to hire as the store manager. In 1983, Shel moved to Israel, where he met his lovely wife, Remi, moving back to the Bay Area after about 18 months. Shel and Remi are big sports fans and also enjoy going to see good films and just spending time with friends. Once a long-suffering fan of the Golden State Warriors, Shel has enjoyed the The 30-Year Club recent success of the team. Shel also likes to be challenged by how much more merchandise he can cram into the Cole Valley store, often describing it as a 4,000-square-foot store with 20,000 square feet of merchandise.
Somewhat behind the scenes, Lai Ling manages the “heartbeat” of Cole Hardware. Our organization has a huge number of moving parts, and ultimately, they all come home to roost in Lai Ling’s realm. Lai Ling and her capable team operate out of our downtown location. Every bill, every invoice, every payment, every paycheck, every deposit, every regulation, every financial relationship—Lai Ling is in control! She and her team do a fine job keeping us afloat and humming, and Lai Ling has grown from her first job with us as a file clerk to be one of Cole Hardware’s most essential crew members. Lai Ling appreciates the growth opportunities she’s had with Cole Hardware, and she cherishes the family-like atmosphere in the business. When she’s not busy working her magic in our accounting office, Lai Ling and her husband enjoy traveling to their native China.
Warehouse manager of our downtown store, Yung governs his stockroom like a tight ship and is often tasked with overseeing our massive holiday receiving. A trusted guide to our next generation of warehouse crew, Yung has been around long enough to know all of the ins and outs of our inventory. Yung recognizes the importance of his job and has his finger on the pulse of the store, knowing who is in need of help without having to ask. Keeping the store’s shelves stocked is a priority for Yung, and his favorite saying is “This doesn’t sell in the warehouse!” Our founder, Dave Karp, was a mentor and friend to Yung, who remembers Dave teaching him all of his hardware knowledge, how to cut glass, and how to survive in the City after arriving from his native Vietnam. Yung considers Cole Hardware his family, and we consider him our favorite uncle!

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