When Steve Barclay applied for the job of Brookings Fred Meyer store director, he was almost positive he wouldn't get it.
"There were two store director positions open, one in Coos Bay and one in Brookings. I was 99-percent sure I was going to get sent to Coos Bay, even though I 100-percent wanted to go to Brookings," Barclay said.
Barclay lucked out, and for the last six months the Brookings native has served as director of the Brookings Fred Meyer. Barclay took over as director after the previous store director, Matt Galli, left to take a position within the company in Portland.
Barclay oversees the store's 240 employees. Fred Meyer is one of the largest employers in the area. Before becoming director, he served as food manager at the Brookings store, and said he always wanted to come back to serve as the store director. He has worked for Fred Meyer in various locations for the last 12 years.
The transition from Galli to Barclay has gone smoothly according to Barclay, since he worked for two years under Galli as food manager.
But plopping a pair of black loafers with pointy toes on his desk, Barclay says he's had quite the pair of shoes to fill since Galli left.
"His parting gift to me was a pair of his shoes," Barclay said holding the shoes. "I tried them on once - they don't fit me very well."
Mark Crippen worked as the assistant food manager when Barclay was food manager, and said that while Barclay has some hard shoes to fill, he is doing a good job.
"He's very sharp and a great guy to work for. He knows what the store needs to look like and how to take care of customers," Crippen said.
Barclay said about 80 percent of the employees were the same when he came back as when he left, making the transition that much easier.
"When Steve came back to the store, it didn't take much getting used to," said home manager Dan McKee. "Matt was a really good store director and Steve stepped in and kept it going."
Barclay graduated from Brookings-Harbor High School in 1994 and attended Oregon State University, where he received a bachelor's in economics and history. Barclay got his start at Fred Meyer while he was in Corvallis, working for a year and a half as a service deli clerk.
He later earned a master's in teaching from Western Oregon University. He's been married for 10 years and has four sons.
Barclay said he really enjoys his job and is happy he was able to return to Brookings, saying the area is a great place to raise children.
"It's a fun job. Of the 19 stores in our district, this is the one I wanted to work at," Barclay said, "Why would I leave?"