Dear Bill Spillane,

Your employee April Yesik, who has been working at Spillane's Variety Store in Palmerton for the last 14 years says she is very sad to be losing her job when the store closes. But she is quick to add, "I'll be all right. I learned a lot from Bill. But retiring is what Bill needs to do now for himself."

This is a common thread that is heard from all of your dedicated employees.

"I have worked for the Spillane family for 37 years. They are the greatest people to work for. My years of service with them explains it all. I too will be retiring and I know, even if I wasn't, I would never find better employer. I thank them for all these years. I wish you all the best, Bill," says Sharon Mikulski.

April adds, "My boss, Bill Spillane. I can't say anything else but 'amazing.' Fourteen years ago you gave me a job at retail when nobody else would. Throughout the years I couldn't have asked for a better boss who became my friend and a big part of my family. I just want to say 'Thank you' for all the wonderful years. It has been a great pleasure working for you. Enjoy your years of retirement. You deserve them."

""Working for you was always inspiring. I was always curious to see what you were getting new for each season with which to decorate the front windows. You had a real knack for selecting just what the customers were looking for. I wish you much joy in your retirement years and I know we will always keep in touch and remain friends outside of work," says Len Mikulski, 12 years.

"Working in your hometown is truly a joy. Spillane's has been fantastic. Working with you and Marie has been awesome. We have great customers, locals, fellow classmates and out-of-towners. I love my job and will miss 'the good old days.' Best wishes on your retirement, Bill. Thanks for all the memories." Linda Strohl, 11 years.

"It truly has been a blessing and honor working here at Spillane's. I've made many new friends in Palmerton and surrounding areas who have enjoyed and supported Spillane's through the years. Enjoy your retirement, Bill. You deserve it," says Meg Carpenito, six years.

"I could not have asked to work for a better employer than you. You have been a joy to work for the past three years. I wish you all the best in your retirement," says Donna Ahner, three years.

So Bill, hope it offers you some comfort to know that you have your employees' love and respect. It is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

By LINDA KOEHLER

lkoehler@tnonline.com