For nine years, Becky Martinez was the manager of Payson's old, now-empty Wal-Mart. And for the last three months, she's been the head honcho of the retail chain's massive new Supercenter and its 425 employees.
That era comes to an end today.
Martinez, 43, is leaving both the Wal-Mart Supercenter and Payson to work at a brand new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Phoenix, at 38th Street and Thomas Road.
The relocation was a mutual agreement between her and Wal-Mart executives, Martinez said. "I was asked, and I said, 'Well, I've served my nine years, I should probably move on.' So I told them, 'OK.'"
Born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico, Martinez's retail career began in 1975 with a sales job in her hometown Montgomery Ward catalog store. To the surprise of no one who knows her, Martinez was eventually named store manager.
During her 11th year, Montgomery Ward closed many of their stores around the country, including hers. But Martinez said she wasn't worried. She'd heard that Wal-Mart was planning a Gallup location -- one-and-a-half years down the road. But she was willing to wait.
"The more I researched Wal-Mart, the more I wanted to work for them," Martinez said.
Initially hired as an associate, Martinez's retail savvy soon earned her a promotion to manager of the electronics department, followed by another upgrade to assistant store manager.
In 1991, Wal-Mart awarded her the top management position of an established store -- right here in Payson.
And today ... Martinez said she has "from now to a week from Monday to lounge around and figure out what I'm going to do with my house."
While it won't be an easy move for Martinez, she said that, in the long run, it may only be temporary.
"This is home. I was very blessed for having the opportunity to be here," she said.
"As far as the people here, they're wonderful. I know I've made a lot of very wonderful contacts and friends, and I'm going to miss everybody.
"But I'm hoping this is someplace I can come back to, retire, and make it my home forever."