Eric Firman was the owner of frozen food chain Firman's Freezers, and a cash and carry in Salford. In January 1994, Eric served as best man at Reg Holdsworth and Maureen Naylor's wedding. He was a curious choice as he and Reg were almost strangers; a fellow member of WARTS, Eric was Reg's wholesaler for his new business venture, the Corner Shop. For Reg, the wedding was a business launch and Eric was his guest of honour. Eric attended the wedding but he was one of many to cry off from Reg's stag night.
Six months later, Eric took Reg on as manager of the Weatherfield branch of Firman's Freezers, and in early 1995 he was persuaded by Reg to employ Curly Watts as assistant manager, a position he had served under Reg at Bettabuy. At Firman's, they were never far from Eric's gaze and he often shared his business plans with them, most of which concerned his early retirement. In March 1995, he was in talks to sell the chain to Brad Martin but after a bad interview with Reg and Curly they pulled out suddenly, to Eric's irritation.
Later that year, Eric put his nephew Leo Firman in charge of the store, taking a more backseat role. Leo earned the ire of Reg and Curly for being appointed over them and enjoyed lording it over them, informing Reg that he'd sent a damning report about him to Eric. Fearing the sack, Reg refused to follow up complaints from the female staff that Leo had been harassing them, so it fell to Curly to tell Eric. Fortunately, Eric believed Curly and Leo was sacked.
Despite his seeming antipathy for Reg, Eric thought highly of him professionally and in November 1995 he offered him a promotion to Chief Executive for Distribution in Lowestoft. Reg accepted and Eric appointed Curly the new manager, impressed with him and Raquel when he and wife Edith entertained the pair at the Firman residence in Bramhall. Eric also invited Curly to join the Square Dealers.
In December 1996, Eric accepted Curly's resignation and made arrangements to re-employ Reg as manager, with Anne Malone as assistant manager, but Curly returned at the last minute and was kept on in his current position. Anne was in love with Curly but he spurned her advances and her reaction was to try to ruin his career by complaining to Eric that he'd been sexually harassing her, resulting in Eric suspending him. Curly didn't understand Anne's hatred of him and tried to get her to admit the truth but when Eric saw Curly shaking Anne, he fired him. Anne then tried to frame Curly's lodger Samantha Failsworth for shoplifting but assistant Sheila Dixon told Eric she saw Anne plant a package in Sam's bag. Eric realised Curly had been telling the truth all along and reinstated him, after sacking Anne.
In July 1997, Eric became taken with shop worker Alma Baldwin and made her employee of the month, putting a blown up photograph of her on the wall (without her prior knowledge). Appointing a reluctant Alma as the face of Firman's Freezers, Eric used her poster to advertise their poorest selling stock, which succeeded in boosting sales.
Early the next year, Eric stood against Spider Nugent, who objected to Firman's stocking Norwegian prawns on the grounds that it supported whaling. When Spider spoiled the prawns with antifreeze, the insurance company refused to pay out.
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