Builders, home-improvement hobbyists and hardware connoisseurs are losing a friendly face at Builders FirstSource in Durango: Bill Cherry is retiring after 23 years with the business.
Cherry, born and raised in Durango, is known among his friends and coworkers as a welcoming face with a unique ability to make customers feel comfortable. After his last day at Builders FirstSource on Friday, he plans to take on home-improvement projects of his own – when he isn’t outdoors.
“Everybody I talk to says you’ll stay busy at your house, you won’t have time to go camping and fishing,” said Cherry, an in-store sales person. “I think I can make time.”
Cherry, who started at the store in 1997, represents the store to the public. He’s the first person customers see when they enter the building supply store.
The tall, slightly balding outdoorsman “leaves an impression” because of his great sense of humor and customer service, said Roger Smith, a former coworker and friend of more than 15 years.
He greets people by name and knows within two minutes how to make a person feel comfortable, or leave them alone if they’re in a rush, he said.
“That’s what I really enjoyed about Bill – he just really makes you feel like he’s your friend ... even if it’s the first time he met you,” said Bryan Welker, a coworker at Builders FirstSource.
It was the same for Welker on his first day in 2001, when Cherry showed him the lay of the land and made him feel welcome. The two friends have been “at odds” for the last 20 years: Welker is a Chargers fan; Cherry, a true Broncos fan.
“Our days are gonna be at least one joke less because he’s always got at least one good joke every day,” Welker said. “It’ll be awhile before we replace Bill, and I doubt if we’ll ever be able to replace him, to be honest.”
Over the years, he’s gotten to know all of his customers by name, and he knows most of the other locals in town. But retirement will be a change. Cherry said he’ll miss staying active and talking to people at his job.
“I’m looking forward to it, but I’m scared to death. I have to stay busy,” Cherry said. “That’s the only thing that scares me about retirement – I don’t want to sit around and get old.”
He said he’s not a traveler – he doesn’t plan to go far from home during his retirement. He reads The Durango Herald almost every day. Town doesn’t draw him in – he said it’s changed a lot over the last decades, and now he spends most of his time south of Durango. But he loves fishing, camping, playing golf and hunting.
“I just like to be outside,” Cherry said. “This is beautiful country – God’s country.”