By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
A long-time employee of the Royalton Lumber and Hardware Store is the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Month for February. Administrative Assistant Linda Meemken said she was completely taken by surprise by the announcement.
Meemken is a 1998 graduate of Royalton High School. During her high school years, she worked at the hardware store as a stocker, cleaner and price checker.
After graduation, Meemken took administrative assistant courses at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and then got a job at the YMCA in the same town.
“Paul Kapsner, the owner of Royalton Hardware, called me just as I was starting my new job and wanted me to come back to work for him. I had to say ‘No.’ I needed to try this out,” she said.
But, it was only a part-time job at the YMCA, so after a year, was ready to work full-time. “I called Paul and it worked out — I got the job,” she said.
After 16 years with the company, she feels the other employees are family.
“I leave my family at home in the morning and come to another family here,” she said.
Meemken performs many of the same duties she did when she was still in high school. Today, she also orders hardware and handles special orders. She still stocks inventory, but is also able to attend hardware shows. She answers the phone, does payroll and invoicing and handles the end-of-month statements.
With all that on her list of duties, Meemken still said, “The most important part of my job is customer service.”
“Linda is usually the first interaction our customers have, whether it is in the store or on the phone,” said Kapsner. “Everyone is greeted with ‘Hi, what can I help you with?’ She always has the customer’s best interest in mind. There are hundreds of things she deals with on a daily basis and she does a great job with all of them. We are glad she is our co-worker.”
Meemken and her husband, Adam, have three children, Anna, 10; Adam Jr., 7; and David, 6. The children attend Royalton Elementary School where Anna is involved in Junior Olympic volleyball and softball and the boys are into wrestling and toss ball in the summer.
She loves to read a wide variety of books, garden, work on the family’s 18-acre hobby farm which raises cows, pigs and chickens and spend time with the family.
“The farm is great, it teaches my kids the benefits of work. Plus, we have lots of great food to eat all year long from our two gardens,” she said.
For being named the Employee of the Month, Meemken received gift certificates from Broadway Stylists, Subway, West Side Bar and Falls Floral. She had her photo taken at Silker Studio and received a cookbook from St. Gabriel’s Hospital Hospice Program.
“After going to college, I had the opportunity to return to Royalton Lumber and Hardware,” she said. “I didn’t hesitate and 13 years later, I still love my job and I couldn’t ask for better people to work for or with. We all care about each other.”