Susan was born in Redwood City, but grew up in San Francisco until she was 17 years old.
At that time, her mother and father made the move to Calistoga after a recommendation from her brother to live closer.
About Sue Beaman
Sue Beaman is the Training & Compliance Coordinator at Cal Mart in Calistoga, California.
She went on to graduate from Calistoga Jr/Sr High school.
As an adult, Susan went on to get married and have two sons and a bonus child, her stepdaughter, who moved in with them as a teen to complete their family unit. Her husband, a general contractor, was self-employed and they found themselves in a position to gain more income when their neighbor Jerry, Night Manager at Cal Mart, said Cal Mart was hiring. Susan came to interview with Ron McBride and Bill Shaw and was offered a position as a part-time checker on April 1, 1986.
Through the first couple years, Susan worked various hours and long days until about two years after she started, she was offered the full-time Head Clerk position. This was an amazing opportunity that came to her as quite a shock because she was so recently hired. She said,
“It was a struggle at first because I was so new, but eventually I worked it out with people, things improved and we became friends.”
Back in 1988, having a woman in a position of authority was still a relatively new concept, so Susan was making a small bit of history here at Cal Mart. She mentioned,
“Working full time was huge because it allowed me to contribute to my family’s income and a big plus was being able to provide benefits for my family.”
Cal Mart at the time was a union grocery store. Susan was one of 6 original supporters of removing the union from the store.
“We trusted Bill and the store. We knew that he would stick to his word and keep things close to the same, just without the union.”
What Made Sue Stay for 35 Years?
When asked what would make someone stay for 35 years at the same job, Susan perked up. She immediately, without hesitation said, “The customers!”
She went on to talk about how over 35 years she has made some truly amazing friendships within the community. She gave an example of a local woman who lived here part of the year with her husband and she wanted to cash a check that was out of state.
Susan smiles as she remembered helping this woman all those years ago, only to become close friends with her to this day. Something that starts small like that moment 20 years ago or longer, branched into a relationship that she now helps her with groceries and other day-to-day tasks.
Susan reminisced about the days when her boys were young, and Cal Mart would let her work a flexible schedule that allowed her to see their ball games and take them to school. Even now, she is able to spend every Monday with her granddaughter, which is a highlight to her week.
“Cal Mart has been great to my family and all the families here. Cal Mart has always been flexible when it could be and generous. I am forever grateful for Cal Mart and how well I have been supported through the years.” she exclaimed.
The friendships over the years at the store have also been a great motivator. She told a sentimental story about how Patti McBride, The Cheese Lady, would call her “Susie” and the only other person that ever did was her mother.
Future Plans for Sue
What is her plan after all her years at Cal Mart?
Susan mentioned that she plans and hopes to retire in about 2.5 years. She hopes that she will be happily gardening with her significant other and volunteering with animals or at the hospital to continue to give back to the community she loves so much.
They hope to travel if it is allowed, and so long as they can find a cat sitter for their beloved feline, Zoe.
Susan finished her interview with some words of wisdom for the generations coming on to work at Cal Mart.
“Come in with a great attitude, be open-minded, be polite and receptive. There is so much diversity out there and I hope that they stay open-minded to all the customers and the people they work with.”
Thank you, Susan, for your 35 years of service to Cal Mart. You have been an innovator, hard worker, and a voice of equality and advocacy for the store throughout the years.