The owners of an Australasian retail operation larger than The Warehouse describe their life' />

Anne and David Norman aren't "status symbol people".

The owners of an Australasian retail operation larger than The Warehouse describe their lifestyle as modest.

The Rich List has given up asking, they say, because the intensely private family simply refuses to be involved.

"We both drive second-hand cars," David says.

As it happens, they have just upgraded, Anne now driving a one-year-old, seven-seater Ford.

She went to collect the new vehicle in her lunch hour.

"The chap said, 'I can't believe you've come to pick up the car yourself'."

While fellow jeweller Michael Hill has his superyacht, "we have a couple of tinnies", David laughs.

The money does come in, but after 35 years of living and working together they have reached a certain position.

They reinvest their profits back into their businesses and it's the day-to-day challenges and the thought of a future that drives the couple.

The Normans believe their role is to create the best environment for their staff and the best shopping experience for their customers.

"We've had a huge amount of satisfaction from staff and customers, friends, saying how much Farmers has improved," Anne says.

To a place like Wanganui - "with or without the 'h'," she jokes - Farmers is a very big part of retail.

"If you've got good merchandise in a window in a shop [in] Wanganui, it helps the whole town lift the feeling of how it is."

Asked if they would ever sell, David points out that James Pascoe Ltd is 103 years old and has yet to sell off a business.

"We have no need to and I don't think our children will have a need to."