When it comes to working, ‘Miss Mack’ can’t imagine doing anything else

Published 5:30 pm Sunday, September 6, 2015

Since the store’s beginning, Ella Mae McCaskill has been a fixture at Super Junior at Fisher Ferry and Nailor roads. “I was about 59 years old, and I’m 85 now,” said McCaskill, known by her customers and coworkers as Miss Mack. “It’s been a long time ago.”

Once a full-time employee, the 85-year-old now works on the opening shift two days a week. Every Wednesday and Thursday she’s there bright and early to get ready for the day and head back home by 10 a.m.

“I get here at 4:30 and get the safe opened and the registers fixed, the coffee made and the ice box open,” she said. “I’ve gotten now where I get up at 3 o’clock every morning.”

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McCaskil never intended to go into the grocery business. Her first job many years ago was behind the soda fountain at Walgreens making $25 for 40 hours of work. Later, she took a job in the cafeteria at Jett School where she worked for 15 years. After a brief stint at a sewing company, she applied for a job at Super Junior.

“I lacked just a few days being the first one hired,” she said. “I watched them build this store and I came to work over here. I thought … I wouldn’t be here two weeks. I had never done this kind of work before.”

All the while throughout her long career, McCaskill was raising a large family.

“I’ve worked all of my life and raised seven kids — five boys and two girls. They all turned out to be good and have good jobs,” she said.  None of them’s been in any trouble. I wore out many a belt and switch though.”

McCaskill dreads the day she won’t be able to work anymore. She said she’d miss her customers and her “second home.”

“I like to work. Just the idea of me having to quit and having to stay home seven days a week is not good news to me, but I know it’s getting close.” she said. “I guess I’m the only crazy one in the world because I like to work. I like to be around people.”

The secret to such a long time in the workforce, she said, is enjoying work and being in it for more than paycheck.

“The main thing is like to work. These young people like the money but they don’t want to work for it,” she said.

Of course working with good coworkers and customers helps.

“I have them coming in off and on all the time to see me. I love them to death,” she said.

“When I quit, it’ll be like leaving another family.”