Arlette Wilson, from Dawlish in Exeter, isn’t your typical grandma. Pilates-loving Arlette is grandparent to 15 grandchildren – ranging in age from nine years old to 30 – and great grandparent to one, with another great grandchild due to arrive shortly. Perhaps more surprisingly, 11 years ago, Arlette decided to give retirement the boot, after only two weeks of trying it out. Now, at the age of 78, Arlette is still working full time!

According to official stats from the Department of Work and Pensions*, a mere 9.9% of 70-74 year are still choosing to work. At 78, an entire new age category should exist for Office Manager Arlette. Despite her years of experience, slowing down has never appealed!

“I tried the whole retirement thing a few years ago but didn’t like it much. Before moving to Exeter when I was 66, I ran a successful ladies clothing company for 16 years, in London. I had a team of employees and a business to run, so I was always on the go. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2003. Thankfully, with surgery and treatment, I pulled through. Rather than using my illness as a reason to slow down, it gave me a new lust for life!

“My husband and I decided to relocate to Exeter and I stopped work. I got so bored as a retiree, after only two weeks of sitting around at home, I was desperate to get back to work. I found a job opening in the local paper, advertising an office manager role with Granite Transformations, a kitchen and bathroom renovation company. Patrick, who owns the company, was looking for a hard-worker and a people person – I fitted the bill! He offered me the job and, 11 years later, he’s still not got rid of me!”

Arlette, who jokingly refers to herself as ‘Grandma’ in the showroom – as “the young guys are always coming to me with their problems” – shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

“I regularly joke with Patrick and tell him I might retire at 80 but I can’t see that happening. I love my job too much and I’ve never been particularly good at sitting down! I’d miss the interaction with our customers. Granite Transformations specialises in bespoke kitchens and bathrooms, so the older customers who pop into the showroom appreciate an opinion from someone closer to their age. I just love meeting people; it’s my forte in life. I get on really well with Patrick and the rest of the team, which means working together is easy. With such a big family, I come to work for a rest!”

Arlette, who celebrated her 78th birthday on the 2nd December, is an integral part of the team at Granite Transformations Exeter and business owner, Patrick Neal, can’t imagine how the place would run without her.

“Arlette wears many different hats during her days in the office – she’s part Office Manager, part Showroom Host, part Agony Aunt. On her days in she’s the only woman in the building and, in the male-dominated industry of home renovations, she puts up with a lot! It’s an honour to work with such a professional, welcoming person.”

*Department for Work and Pensions report on employment statistics for workers aged 50 and over.


Note to Editors
Image attached: a photo of Arlette Wilson
Granite Transformations Exeter showroom can be found at: 2 The Newton Centre, Thorverton Road, Exeter, EX2 8GN

For more information, or to speak with Arlette Wilson or Patrick Neal directly, please contact Kelly Ayres on 07895 876745

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About TREND Transformations

TREND Transformations brings affordable luxury to life. Whether it be your kitchen, your bathroom or your commercial space, we have everything you need to design your ultimate dream space. We are a full service home and business renovation company that offers an impressive selection of stylish, luxurious and elegant surfaces — all at reasonable prices.

Formerly known as Granite Transformations, we rebranded in January 2017 taking into account our luxury new products including Orsoni mosaic tiles, along with offering a wide range of top-quality quartz, granite, recycled glass, and cabinet replacement materials. Our unique installation service eliminates the stress of managing multiple contractors and clients can avoid the problems and setbacks that are typical of home improvement projects. We use recycled materials in most of our production which makes TREND Transformations the eco-friendly option too.

Franchise opportunity:
Each showroom in the UK is owned by a franchisee. Our franchisees all have different backgrounds and skillsets, so don’t worry – renovation experience is not required. You will be taught everything you need to know. What matters is that you are passionate, self-motivated, enjoy working with people and ready for a positive change. Our comprehensive training programme includes time at HQ and on-site during your showroom build and at least two weeks’ field training following launch.