In the Spotlight – Colleen Freestone

Meet Colleen Freestone, a loyal and much-loved Co-op employee. She has been a part of the Co-op family for a whole 40 years, making her one of the longest-serving members of the team. Here, she reflects on her time with the business.

  1. What was your role when you joined the Co-op, and where was it?
    I worked at Bay Street in Head Office doing Admin. This basically meant I was pulling out and refiling the stock cards that were sent in from each branch so that book orders could be typed up and ordered from the suppliers.
  2. What is your current role at the Co-op, and where are you?
    I am the Academic Sales Representative & Customer Service Manager at the University of Queensland St Lucia store.


    Colleen at work – where the magic happens!

  3. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
    There have been many great highlights throughout my time here. When I was working at Bay Street it was great to see some of the TV celebrities come in to purchase books, such as *name drop warning* Andrew Denton and Jon English. Another standout was getting the opportunity to do a sell-in for a Fred Hollows Book and meet the man himself. Also, working with the likes of Helen Johansson and Anne McDougal who always had the Co-op’s best interests at heart; their integrity and spirit were always an inspiration.
  4. What is the book that has had the most hype around it?
    Two spring to mind and they were both sets – Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and, of course, Fifty Shades of Grey.
  5. What is your favourite book?
    I don’t have a favourite. But in saying that l like to read Stephen King, James Herbert and for the last 31 years I have read the Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton – she is up to W and I will be very sorry when they are finished.
  6. What is the biggest change you’ve seen since you started working at the Co-op?
    The biggest change I have experienced is when we went from the card system to computer – not sure what year that was but I can remember spending night after night and weekends entering book titles and details onto the new TTWIN system. The next biggest thing was moving from sending out divided cheques to the Members to a point of sale discount. This is much better because the Member’s receive their dividend straight away in the form of a discount and it meant we weren’t sending out hundreds of cheques (some for as low as 50c!)
  7. 40 years is an impressive amount of time to work for the one place – what is it about the Co-op that has made you stay?
    Not-for-profit and getting the best prices for the students. Jack of all trades and Master of SOME!! This has kept the job interesting and sometimes challenging but never dull.
  8. Tell us a bit about Colleen outside the Co-op – what do you like to do when you aren’t at work?
    • Spend time with friends and family, “good wine, good food and good company”. I love to sit on a balcony overlooking the sea with a glass of good wine or champagne with a nice large bucket of prawns and strawberries to share.
    • I love to sing, I was a part of the Southern Cross Voices (this was the  Logan City Choir) for a few years. As some of my longer serving colleagues would attest to, I do like karaoke!
    • I love taking happy snaps and it is not often you will see me out without a camera in my hand (saying “1  – 2 – 6 and just one more, just in case”) but now days it is so easy with my smartphone with camera at the ready all the time.
    • When time permits I love to knit; I was first shown how by my mother when I was about 9 but didn’t really take an interest in it until I started with the Co-op. With help from the Head Typist at the Co-op at the time ( Bev Webster who knitted wonderful intricate patterns) I took on jumpers and scarves and baby clothes for my nieces and nephews.
    • I watch  lots of movies and go as often as I can to the theatres.

9.   Finally, if you could name a cocktail what would it be called (and what would it contain!)?

It would be called the Blue Dolphin (I have not made it, so tasters beware!). To make:

  • Blue Curacao
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Coconut Rum
  • A squeeze of lime juice
  • Topped with some mint



Team dinner out for Colleen’s 40th anniversary


Christmas at the Co-op – 1974
















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