|Randy joined the co-op staff in August 2010 and has served as a Cashier, Customer Service Assistant and Night Shift Manager, in addition to lending his considerable handyperson skills to numerous store projects over the years.
Randy states, “Upon reflection at the end of my thirteen years at Three Rivers Market, it almost parallels how my work life began. Although the present conditions of our times are different, the common similarity to my past has much to do with our community.
I became employed at the age of sixteen at a store where my father was employed as a butcher, very similar in size to TRM. The town of Arnold, Missouri, was just south of St. Louis, and was surrounded by farming communities, mostly German. My father, Louis Arnold, was well known in that community partly because the town was named after his grandparents, but also, he developed a reputation as the town butcher and knew many of the people and their families who had emigrated to this community. The majority of people who shopped there were hard working middle class people, teachers, skilled trade people, firemen, many who would seek Louie’s expertise, or just share what was happening with their families.
My father’s social proclivities are innately indelible in my DNA when I think about the people I encounter each day, whether local or just passing through town. This is a very humbling experience, to get a window into humanity and try to understand what others have to offer and empathize with what they go through. My father passed away a couple years ago, but those memories of his engagement with his community have left me with a sense of purpose and significance that this store is to its community.
Eventually, the “Tom Boy” store went out of business because they could not compete with the large box stores. My mom and dad, who took ownership of that store to finish their retirement, sold off what they had, so that they could cover the debts to their vendors. When I go back to Arnold, I occasionally see local produce at some of the small markets who have survived and am reminded of the produce I would pick at Burchard’s Farm that would be in the case of my family’s store. As I move into the next phase of my life, I look forward to seeing what the next generation of local entrepreneurs, and skilled employees bring to Three Rivers Market.
While I will be retiring, I look forward to seeing my friends around town. Occasionally, I have run into my former drawing students from Pellissippi State at TRM, and some of our customers when playing at the blues music jams at the old Three Rivers Market location, “Ale’ Rae’s”. We have a great community, and I am grateful to have a part in it.”