Being named August Employee of the Month by the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce came as a surprise to Heidi Pyka, pharmacy over the counter manager at Walmart. Nevertheless, she considers it an honor.
“I was pretty shocked because I think everybody works hard and is pretty friendly with the customers. But I am grateful for the recognition and feel humbled by the nomination,” she said.
Pyka started working at Walmart 22 years ago. Initially, her plan was to work there only for a year and then move on to something new.
“I stayed because I like what I do. There are also a lot of great people here and they treat us well,” she said.
One thing Pyka likes about working for Walmart is how family-friendly the company is.
“My shift works out well for my family and if I need to leave for some reason, they are very good about it,” she said.
Over the years, Pyka has worked in different departments. For the first 10 years, she handled the jewelry department. Then she worked as the photo center manager for five years and then in electronics, toys and wireless for a few years.
The last five years, she has worked as an over the counter manager in the pharmacy department. Of all the departments she has worked in, Pyka said her current position is her favorite.
Although each of her positions involved customer service, Pyka said working in the pharmacy department allows her to interact even more with people, especially the older generation which she holds closely to her heart.
“My favorite part about this job is the customers. They make the job fun. There are so many wonderful customers who come in. Many are regulars, too, so they recognize you,” she said.
Pyka’s devotion to giving customers a great and friendly shopping experience and her willingness to help have led to several customers purposefully seeking her out to help them.
“It’s important for me to help them find what they need, even if it means what they are looking for is across the store,” she said.
“Even though her prime location is health and beauty, it never ceases to amaze me the knowledge of her ability to locate anything I desire from vitamins to harmonicas and always with a smile,” said customer Edie Flahave, who nominated Pyka for the Employee of the Month recognition.
Pyka said that some customers may have difficulty moving or reaching items on the shelves. She enjoys helping them in any way she can.
One of her aspirations is to make sure that the customers never feel like they are an inconvenience when they need assistance.
“For some, their weekly shopping trip is their opportunity to interact with people,” she said.
“She is an exceptional example of what all customers or consumers appreciate. She is personable and helpful in all sorts of ways,” Flahave said.
What Pyka brings to her customers and the team has not gone unnoticed by her supervisor, Tarah Voltin.
“Heidi is a huge asset to our store customers. Our employees love her positive attitude, smiling face and willingness to help. We are all better people working with Heidi. Little Falls Walmart is lucky to have her on our team,” she said.
Pyka said sometimes it can be challenging to get everything done in one day.
“If you don’t get it all done in one day, there is always tomorrow. They are pretty good about it here. They know you can’t get it all done in one day. Sometimes you are so busy with customers, you may not have time to do it all. And some days, there are not as many customers and you get it done,” she said.
When Pyka isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brian and their children Jacob, Brandon and Alivia.
She also enjoys spending time with friends, volunteering at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Royalton, traveling, camping and caring for the animals on their hobby farm — calves, chickens, ducks, cats and one dog.
As Employee of the Month, Pyka will receive gift certificates from Berg’s Bug Removal, Bursch Travel Agency, CHI Health at Home, Domino’s, Johnny C’s Sports Bar, Fitness Connection, Fresh Hair Professionals, Friends of Pine grove Zoo, GoldSmith Jewelers, Linden Hill Historic Event Center, Pine Ridge Golf Club, Subway in Little Falls and Vacuum Cleaner Outlet and Service Center.
She will also have a professional photo taken by Maddie B’s Photography.