Rural Valley woman a Wal-Mart legend at 81
Louise Reefer, 81, is a little woman whose big heart has been in the fabrics and crafts department of the Kittanning Wal-Mart since the store opened in 1992.
“I started 21 years ago,” Reefer said. “I was a widow and really needed it — this job came just at the right time.”
Reefer of Rural Valley said that her husband's death at the age of 57 was sudden and unexpected, leaving her and her life plans in a lurch so many years ago.
“I am a licensed beauty operator, and we were making plans for me to open my own shop when he died,” she said. “Then Wal-Mart came into Kittanning, and I applied for a job. When I got hired, I decided that I would think of this store as my store.”
Although her base of operations is usually fabrics and crafts, she has expansive knowledge of the entire store, as evidenced by the number of requests made of her on a day-to-day basis. If Wal-Mart has it, Louise will know it and find it.
“I love my job,” she said.
And it seems customers love her. Second and third generations of families look to her for guidance in everything from seventh-grade sewing projects to fabric and design choices for the advanced quilter.
Reefer gives every question and every questioning customer her full attention. If asked her opinion, she will be honest, yet so courteous in her response that the crafter is not offended.
“Every time I've tried a new adventure in crafts, Louise has known what to do,” said customer Cheryl Zboran of North Buffalo Township. “She always asks about what you are doing now the next time you are in her department. She's truly interested in you.”
Barb Panchik of North Buffalo appreciates the extra effort that Reefer extends to her clientele.
“She's always so nice and willing to help you find whatever you need,” Panchik said.
Time spent at the cloth-cutting table with Reefer goes beyond the obvious business transaction. Casual conversation may have everything or nothing to do with your purchase, and repeat customers develop a friendly familiarity with the petite lady as she measures and cuts their material.
And the senior Wal-Mart worker does her job with the vitality of someone who is 18.
“She never stops,” said coworker Carolyne Jones. “She knows how to do everything.”
For Reefer, who was born and raised on a farm in the Punxsutawney area, it's all in a day's work.
“I want to be as productive as I can, for as long as I can,” she said.
Diane Ascerni is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Armstrong man dies in single-vehicle crash
- Officials get early start on NuMine bridge replacement planning
- Donation another step toward new roof at Cowansville veterans center
- Students perform Christmas program at Kittanning health center
- Ford City looks for bigger hall to house crowd at council meetings
- South Buffalo church nears end of more than a century of worship
- Dayton crash victim remains hospitalized
- Kittanning website being upgraded after borough purchase
- Musician memorialized with portrait at Lenape Elementary
- Canoer hit by deer hunter’s shot in Burrell Township
- Armstrong roundup targets drug dealer suspects