Fresh out of Pierz Healy High School, Susie Dehler of Buckman looked for a job locally. Little did she know at the time that it would be with a company she would remain with for a long time.
Dehler, who works as a clerk at Thielen Meats in Little Falls first started working in 1984 at the location in Pierz.
In 1990, when John Thielen opened the store in Little Falls, Dehler followed. It is a decision she doesn’t regret.
“John treats us well. He is a great boss to work for,” Dehler said.
While Dehler sometimes fills in for other clerks “in the back,” stocking shelves and filling the meat case with fully cooked items, her greatest enjoyment is the interaction with customers. Giving excellent customer service is natural for her, she said.
“I really enjoy hearing people’s stories, any plans they may have for the weekend. We just go from one subject to the next. Anything they want to talk about,” she said.
At times, Dehler gets quite attached to her customers, especially those she sees regularly. But that doesn’t always come without sorrow.
Dehler said one customer used to come into the store and purchase beef jerky for his nephew.
“He would always give me a countdown to his retirement. But once he retired, six to eight months later he died from an aggressive cancer. It’s just sad. He worked his whole life to retire and then to find out he was sick,” she said.
Another heartbreaking moment for Dehler is when people who spend the winter months someplace warmer return without their spouse.
“You see that a lot, especially with the older ones. You just know, because they have always come together for years,” Dehler said.
Dehler’s compassion for people has not gone unnoticed by John.
“She is a dedicated worker who deals with customers as if they were her own family. Susie knows the customers by their first name and take an interest in their personal lives,” John said.
One neat thing about having worked for the same company for so long is that in one way she gets to follow milestones in various people’s lives.
“It’s amazing. When I first started, people would bring in their kids and stand at our famous candy stand. Now, those kids are bringing in their kids, continuing the tradition. That makes me smile,” she said.
Another reason Dehler enjoys her work as much as she does is because of the people she works with.
“We are a great team here. I work with some great people. It makes a lot of difference when you work as a team and help each other out when needed,” she said.
Supervisor Jessica Thielen said Dehler has gone above and beyond as an employee.
“She is dedicated to both the business and the customers. She is such a caring and compassionate person and brings that with her every day, making the workplace more enjoyable. We are lucky to have her as a vital part of Thielen Meats,” Jessica said.
Dehler was chosen as “Employee of the Month” for July by the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m ecstatic about it. At first, I was shocked. When I found out about it, I actually started crying. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing I’m appreciated,” she said.
When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, and their grown children, Jolene and Laura. She also likes to camp, travel, flower garden, ride bike, and in the winter months, ice fish.
As Employee of the Month, Dehler will received gift certificates from Fresh Hair Professionals, Friends of Pine Grove Zoo, Lindstrom Auto Detailing, Minnesota Fishing Museum Hall of Fame and Education Center, Pizza Ranch, ServiceMaster Clean, Spectrum Marketing Services, Subway, Vacuum Cleaner Outlet and Service Center and West Side Bar.
She will also receive flowers from Falls Floral, a cookbook from CHI St. Gabriel’s Health Hospice Program and will have a professional photo taken by Silker Studio.
“Thank you to all the sponsors for the wonderful gifts,” Dehler said.