She wanted a job closer to home, close enough to walk or ride her bike. With help from ProAct, Ginny Delk is achieving her goals in a retail helper position at Kwik Trip near downtown Red Wing.
“She does a lot of the tasks within the store which we struggle to accomplish some days,” said Store Leader Christin Swenson. Delk is there to stock, clean the store and assist outside. “She’s detail-oriented, so she’s able to get the products in the right spot, which is a great help to us,” said the store leader.
ProAct Case Coordinator Steve Whitmore makes bi-monthly visits to assist and check on Delk’s status. “Every time I ask her how things are going, she says things are great and she loves her job there,” he said.
The success is in the details
Delk’s detail focus also helps in finding expired products, Whitmore explains. The ProAct staffer said he always hears positive things about her. “I usually talk to her or one of the managers.”
When the store is short on staff, it’s the back half that can get neglected, because the first priority is getting guests checked out quickly and maintaini
ng cleanliness up front, the store leader explained. Delk is there on some weekdays and every weekend to cover that part.
Before she started on weekends, several pop and water coolers would be empty on Monday morning. “Having her work the weekends has helped to where we don’t have that issue,” said Swenson. The store serves about 2,000 guests per day.
She’s there at peak times to help
A tractor-trailer comes every day with product and every other day is a larger delivery. Boxes upon boxes and bagged items flow in on two-wheel dollies, are staged for sale and organized so they don’t pile up.
In the midst of this busy scene on a Monday, Delk was tracking and directing where things should go. She opened cases of bananas and wrapped plastic on the sides to ensure that any moisture could escape. Counting product, taking notes and moving items, she worked closely with an employee who appeared to be in training.
Versatile, people skills also on tap
Delk has helped with some duties at the front end of the store as well. For guest service, she’s able to communicate over the walkie talkie and go outside to help people pump fuel, and she checks license plates to assure that the store can authorize fuel sales.
Whitmore said Kwik Trip does a good job communicating, letting them know if there are concerns with job placements. “All the staff are very friendly and work well with our clients,” he said. “They say, ‘We’re family here,’ which is good. Everyone treats each other with respect.”
Swenson echoed those comments, adding that people know what’s happening in each other’s lives. Schedules can be flexible if a staff member has something happening during their normal shift.
Kwik Trip’s wisdom of dedicated support
Staff costs for 20-hour per week retail helper positions don’t count against individual store labor expenses. “For us to be able to have a retail helper is very exciting,” said Swenson. “It’s a very good program, and I’d say she’s at the top end of that.”
Delk said her position exists outside of the standard hierarchy of the Kwik Trip system. “I just go where I’m needed,” she said. In this case, it was helping making sure the store has an easy time with the truck delivery.
Different store strengths, company gives back
Kwik Trip has three stores in Red Wing, each with their high points. The downtown area store serves the most travelers going up and down U.S. Highway 61, the store on 7th Street near Minnesota Highway 58 has the most foot traffic and the highway store on the west end of the city has a truck stop and substantial diesel fuel sales, according to the store leader.
Kwik Trip provides sick leave and vacation time benefits to all employees, support for 401(k) retirement, a year-end bonus and 40 percent profit sharing. The latter has been as high as 12 percent of an employee’s annual wages. “It’s just a lovely thing,” Swenson said.
Interviews for Kwik Trip jobs tend to focus on determining a person’s kindness and personal attributes, rather than the typical work-related questions, she said.
Productive, satisfying, and income to spend
For Delk, the four-hour shifts can be physical. “I usually go home and take a nap when I’m done,” she said. The busyness of this job offers a sense of greater productivity than her previous work helping fast food customers. “I’m definitely not as grouchy at home. I’m too tired to be grouchy.”
Whitmore said he’s very, very proud of her, and the store leader was appreciative. “She’s become part of our family, so, she’s been great,” said Swenson.
Increasing her independence and shopping capacity, Delk bought a three-wheeled bicycle with room for shopping bags. She rides it to work.