Wearing her favorite shade of lipstick (Ginger Flower), Inell Quimby, 88, was still trying to sell Clinique cosmetics during her retirement party.
Reminding her loyal customers of promotions and recommending new products is second nature to Quimby, who has worked for various department stores at Penn Square Mall since 1965. Her daughter believes Quimby has worked for the mall longer than anyone else, but mall management doesn't keep records for that.
Quimby didn't want to retire. Recovering from surgery on a broken hip, her daughters finally convinced her to hang up the trademark white lab coat worn by all Clinique salespeople. She hasn't worked since November but, because she believed she would go back to work, didn't officially retire until last week.
“I just couldn't quit,” Quimby said.
Customers ask for her by name at the Macy's cosmetics counter.
Often, they are so loyal, they won't buy from anyone else, said Rhonda Brainard, sales manager for cosmetics and fragrances.
Quimby has been a top seller for years, reaching President's Club status, and regularly set sales goals to match full-time workers, even though she worked part time, Brainard added. The commission-based sales job kept her competitive.
Quimby started out in the credit department of John A. Brown in 1966; she then went to Dillard's and actually tried to retire in 1979. But a manager from Rothschild's called and she was back at it again. She also worked for Foley's department store, which was acquired by Macy's in 2005.
“She's the heart of our department,” Brainard gushed. “She's really and truly one of those special people you don't find very often.”