By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Thirty years later, Golackson still here
Deb Golackson is the longest-tenured Walmart employee in the state of Wisconsin. The Walmart in Monroe celebrated its 30th anniversary on Tuesday. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)

30-year employees of Monroe's Walmart store

Ellen Broge

Nancy Brooks

Donna Frenzel

Deb Golackson

Sandy Groom

Cindy Heins

Ann Kundert

Deb Leckner-Figi

Renee Wiesenberg

MONROE - When Deb Golackson walked into her new job 30 years ago, it was four bare walls.

Even the floor was bare. "They were laying the tile on the floor," she said.

Golackson had been working at McLellan's, a dimestore on the Square at the time. But she saw an ad for a new retail store coming to town and answered it.

"I hadn't even heard of Walmart," she said. "Nobody had a clue" what the store was.

That store was Walmart, and the Monroe location was the mega discount chain's first to open in Wisconsin.

Thirty years later, Golackson is still working at Walmart, earning her the designation as the longest-tenured Walmart employee in the state.

She and the eight other 30-year employees were honored at a ceremony at the store Tuesday morning. The nine women all started at the brand-new store that opened July 16, 1985, but "I beat them by three or four days," Golackson said.

They literally helped put the store together; Golackson recalled setting the shelves up.

Over the past three decades, Golackson, who lives in Red Oak, Illinois, has done a bit of everything at the store. She started as a cashier, and then moved to sales clerk. She's worked in invoicing and the cash office. She enjoys cake decorating in the bakery, but it can be tiring on the hands. Now, she works mostly in receiving, checking in merchandise, but enjoys covering in other departments.

"We cover for each other constantly," she said, adding the variety keeps her job interesting. "I'm never bored."

Things have changed through the years. Managers have come and gone, Golackson said. The new store, which opened in 2009, added a grocery and tire and lube center. They don't have to count every box that comes in, and UPC codes have replaced pricing individual items.

"Walmart's middle name is change," said Nancy Brooks, another 30-year veteran.

She and others in the 30-year club shared their thoughts and recollections at Tuesday's ceremony.

While things are different, they're good. "Every day is just a blessing," she said.

Sandy Groom said she and her colleagues never imagined they would still be working together after all this time. "We said 10 years," she said, then 10 years became 15 years, which became 20 years.

There's a strong sense of unity in the crew.

Ann Kundert remembered a fire at the old store, and how employees pulled together. "We really stuck together," she said.

"We've been through thick and thin," Renee Wiesenberg said. "We take care of each other."

Golackson echoed the sentiment, adding the camaraderie makes co-workers seem more like family. She said that was a key for Walmart founder Sam Walton. She met Walton, a man she greatly respects,

twice when he visited Monroe.

"We're really a family. That's what Sam believed in," she said.

"It doesn't seem like 30 years," Golackson said. "I enjoy coming to work."

So much so that she has no plans to retire.

"I'll stay here as long as I can," Golackson said.