A community’s friend: Longtime Caledonia Kwik Trip leader retires after 35 years

CALEDONIA, Minn. (WKBT) — A Caledonia Kwik Trip employee is being recognized for her hard work and dedication after 35 years. A lot has changed since then, but Kathy Ranzenberger’s love of serving people has not.

Meeting people is something Kathy does every day at Kwik Trip.

“Kwik trip is all about people,” Kathy said. “It is fun. It is fun. Every day is different no matter what.”

35 years of serving her community with a smile.

“She’s got stories to tell, and I absolutely love hearing them,” said coworker Tristan Behn. “She knows everybody that comes in here by their first name, and if not she figures it out.”

Kathy knows everyone who walks through those doors.

“It’s just one big family here,” Kathy said.

And today– Friday, April 8, was Kathy’s last day. After three and a half decades, she knows her community.

“There’s people that come in here to see Kathy. They do! They just come in to see Kathy and go on their little merry way,” said Linda Esch, who has worked with Kathy for 33 years.

Kathy has watched guests grow up, from strangers, to neighbors, to finally friends.

“She’s been my big sister,” Linda said.

Some even became coworkers.

“She’d always tell me ‘I remember when you were waist high!’” Tristan said.

Throughout the years, Kathy has remained humble

“She came in the office and she got in my face and said ‘there’s no cake and ice cream on Friday is there?’ and I said ‘no… I know how you felt… you wanted to go out the back door!’” Linda said.

But Linda had a party– complete with cake and ice cream– on Friday.

“I was not in favor of this party. I am not a drama person,” Kathy said.

“I’m like, ‘I gotta do something for her,'” Linda said.

Something special for Caledonia’s unofficial ambassador.

“I’m gonna miss the people and the friendship. It’ll never be the same,” Kathy said.

Even after Kathy clocks out for the final time, she will remain the community’s cherished friend.

Kathy’s coworkers say she is not retiring entirely—she’s planning to take a short break and then work a part-time job in another town.