Editor's note: this is the second of five articles to mark the 75th anniversary of the Southern Plains Co-op. We congratulate the co-op on this milestone, and thank them for all that they have meant to the community.
The Southern Plains Co-op is blessed to have numerous long-time employees. They bring an excellent work ethic, enjoy working with the customers and make the most of their experiences. Four long-time employees reflect on their time with the co-op.
Carol McKay, human resources manager, 43 years of experience:
The Southern Plains Co-op is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and Carol McKay has been around for most of them.
Carol will mark her 44th anniversary with the co-op in June. She started as the accounts payable clerk, and has always worked in the administrative office.
“I’ve done the sales desk, I’ve done the equity desk, I’ve done the receivables desk, I’ve done the accountant role, I’ve done the controller role, and now I’m the HR manager,” said Carol.
She loves the ability to help people. In all of her roles, she’s had the ability to train and see people grow.
Carol loves the values of the co-op as well.
“It’s been a career. It’s not just a job. When I came out of … SIAST 44 years ago, I wanted a place that wasn’t going to isolate me and put me in one block. I wanted the ability to learn different roles,” said Carol.
She found everything she wanted with the co-op, and it’s evident in the different roles she has had. The company is willing to train her and other employees, and if you want to learn something, you have the ability to grow.
Leanne Frank, controller, 39 years:
The Southern Plains Co-op has been a big part of Leanne Frank’s life since she was 16 years old.
She started working in the grocery department as a student, and she also worked in the bakery, the service station and the office, where she now works as the controller.
The co-op is never a boring place to work. Leanne learns something new almost every day, since grocery stores, liquor stores, service stations, petroleum sales and other services are all part of the co-op.
“The people are great,” said Leanne. “Right from upper management to our students. I feel we’re a team, and we hope to make everybody feel like they’re part of the team right from Day 1. It’s a great place to work.”
She’s been happy to come to work every day for 40 years, so it’s a great place to work.
The co-op has offered a lot in her personal life as well. It has education programs that you can take advantage of, and every manager works with every employee to ensure they’re happy.
Shannon Skoczylas, 25 years, produce clerk:
Shannon Skoczylas has been with the Southern Plains Co-op for a quarter century.
She started in the old co-op location, working downstairs in the cafeteria, before moving up to produce for about six months during a maternity leave. Then she returned to the cafeteria.
When the co-op moved into the current building on Fourth Street, Shannon worked as a cashier, and then shifted back into produce, where she is now a supervisor.
“I enjoy the people. I enjoy the staff. We’ve had fun throughout the years, working in different departments,” said Shannon.
There have been community efforts and social clubs.
And Shannon likes to see the customers, who continue to come back to the co-op year after year.
Produce is a department that gives Shannon opportunities to learn, with different fruits and vegetables. The co-op provides value-added incentives with different recipes for customers to come back for different items. And Shannon will learn different things about the produce at courses.
Anita Yoner, 20 years, cashier:
Anita Yoner recently celebrated quite a milestone: 20 years with the Southern Plains Co-op’s grocery store in Estevan.
When she started with the co-op, she was a bakery clerk, so she was slicing bread, making donuts, decorating cakes and providing baker’s helper work. Then she moved up to the cashier work.
“I feel the co-op does have great values. I enjoy working for a business that is community-minded. I really enjoy the staff that I work with, so that keeps me here, too,” said Anita.
Working as a cashier gives her the opportunity to deal with the public all day long, and she enjoys talking to people.
Her work never gets old or tired, and she continues to enjoy what she does.