Nfld. & Labrador

45 years of beautifying customers for this Torbay Road mall maven

Her signature red lipstick smile is a feature of any visit to Shoppers Drug Mart on Torbay Road in St. John's over the last four decades, and Daphne Morton is still going.

Daphne Morton started at Zellers, now celebrating 40 years at Shoppers Drug Mart

Daphne Morton is celebrating 40 years of working in the beauty section of Shoppers Drug Mart on Torbay Road in St. John's, and her son Craig Welsh is celebrating her. (Submitted by Craig Welsh)

Her signature red lipstick smile has been a feature of any visit to Shoppers Drug Mart on Torbay Road in St. John's over the last four decades, and Daphne Morton is still going.

"I just absolutely love what I do," Morton said. 

"In my 40 years with Shoppers I've never woken up one morning and said, 'I don't want to go into work today,' and that's a rarity, I think, in a lot of jobs."

Morton has helped countless customers find the beauty products they want, and watched the local cosmetics scene evolve. 

"Back years ago, when I first started — actually 45 years ago at Zellers — in the day it was just like your basic Maybelline, Cover Girl and some Oil of Olay. Now, of course it's such a big business where we're getting into, particularly our store, Chanel and stuff like that."

Marking a milestone

When it became clear the COVID-19 pandemic would cancel planned celebrations of Morton's work anniversary, her son, Craig Welsh, wrote a blog post to honour his mother's accomplishment. And it spread. 

"I just wanted to write something to let friends and family know that this was happening and how proud I was of her of this anniversary, and for them to maybe just drop her a line, wishing her congratulations," said Welsh. 

I just felt so much better going into work than kinda sitting home.- Daphne Morton

Welsh, who lives in Iqaluit, said he also hoped his mother would stop going to work as the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Newfoundland and Labrador. 

"Ultimately you've just gotta trust that Mom knows what she's doing, which she does.… I've never met anyone that loves their job like she does."

Morton laughed as her son noted she knows what she's doing, explaining how her manager told her she could stay home if she wanted to. 

"It was just important for me to be a part of the store. I just felt so much better going into work than kinda sitting home ... that's just not in my character to be sitting at home at all," she said. 

'A kiss from Daphne'

Morton said she has a special place in her heart for all the seniors she's served over the years.

One customer of note was a man who lived in a seniors' home and would go to Shoppers with his daughter. 

"He would stand by the counter, actually, and have a chat with me and let his daughter go around and pick up his items," Morton said. "I'd give him a little hug before he left because he was such a sweetheart!"

Morton says selling makeup has changed a lot over the years in St. John's, with the beauty section of stores today looking quite different from years past. (Myles McCormack)

When he stopped coming in, his daughter told her he wasn't able to get out, so she figured she'd send him "a kiss from Daphne."

"Of course I wear red lipstick, and I used to fold the receipt in the middle and I put my lipstick on the receipt and sent that home to him."

Morton said a few years later, after he'd died, his daughter told her they had found an envelope with those receipts. 

Although the Torbay Road Mall has changed over the years Morton has been working there, with Shoppers Drug Mart now a separate building on site, her son fondly remembers it as "the mall for the east end of St. John's."

"Mom is a part of that history of that mall right now, and it's nice to recognize it," Welsh said. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the St. John's Morning Show

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