Kalvin McIntosh is retiring as Tarkio Hy-Vee Store Director after more than 40 years of service to the company. His last day is October 2.
On Sunday, October 2, 2017, the Tarkio Hy-Vee as we know it will forever be changed as Store Director Kalvin McIntosh takes off his store badge for the last time. Kalvin, a much-loved citizen of Tarkio, Tarkio Citizen of the Year (2015), donor to all causes, and “the” smile in every aisle is retiring after working at Hy-Vee “officially” since October 25, 1975. However, three years before that he was sorting pop bottles, so technically Kalvin has been working for 45 years.
From stocker, to frozen food manager, to shift manager, to bookkeeper, to produce manager, to meat manager, to assistant manager, to store director, Kalvin has worked every part of the store. Kalvin’s legacy was so well-known and respected, that he was the last Hy-Vee employee to ever make it all the way to the top in the same store. Most managers are now hired from outside the store.
When people think of Tarkio Hy-Vee, they immediately see Kalvin’s face, standing in the aisles asking “How are you?” or “Are you finding everything ok?”. Store Director never meant a desk job, and Kalvin still worked every single position, whether it was unloading a truck, stocking an empty shelf, slicing a ham if the meat manager was absent, manning a cash register when the evening rush hit, carrying out groceries for someone who needed the extra help, or making deliveries to homebound residents. Kalvin ALWAYS made everyone feel welcome and at home in his store.
And it wasn’t only his customers who loved Kalvin, but also his coworkers and managers, and later, when he was the manager, his employees. Kalvin worked under four store managers before he become one himself and he said he’s worked with hundreds of Hy-Vee employees. He says many have even worked at the store as teenagers and then came back to the store to work part-time in their later years. Even today, former Hy-Vee employees walk through the doors and stop to talk to Kalvin and reminisce about the good ol’ days at the store. He remarked that it’s been such a great experience seeing where his coworkers’ and employees’ lives and successes have taken them over the years.
Though Kalvin remembers his years of working at the store with fondness, he joked that it was a major adjustment for him to see how computerized the store became over the years. He said in the beginning, if the electricity went out, you would just turn a crank on the register and keep going. Now, power outages can cause 15 minute or so delays on the computerized registers. Though cash and checks are still used, now credit/debit cards are the payment of choice for many, and don’t forget to swipe your Hy-Vee Fuel Saver cards!
Kalvin’s kindness did not stop with just directing the store’s daily activities, he was the key instrument to MANY local organizations and schools being able to hold successful events by not only donating his goods at the store, but also his own personal time. If an organization ran out of hamburger or hot dog buns, they’d say, “Call Kalvin” and he’d immediately step up to help. Hy-Vee has also had some events and booths of their own. Kalvin said one of his fondest memories was having the Hy-Vee booth at the fly-ins and air shows held at the Tarkio airport.
Whether it’s his fellow Rotarians and Chamber of Commerce members (both organizations in which he held offices), or his little leaguers, or his employees, or customers, each individual is going to miss seeing that constant smiling face in town. Kalvin and his wife, Stephanie, have moved to the Lake of the Ozarks area, where his wife is currently teaching. Kalvin said he plans to take October through December off, and then see if he feels the need to go to work somewhere else, though he joked if Stephanie had her way, his working days are over. He will now also have more time to spend with his three sons and his grandchildren. And even though we will miss him, he said he’ll miss us just as much. He’ll be back to visit of course, as he has family still here, including his son, Tristan, brother, Sid, and sister-in-law, Ashley, all who also work at the store.
Kalvin is hoping that Ashley will be promoted to Tarkio’s Store Director, though the decision is ultimately up to corporate. Ashley and Sid, both, have stepped into Kalvin’s shoes the past few years and like Kalvin, are just as kind and successful in keeping the store up and running. Kalvin said his goal was always to keep the store going in Tarkio, and though there were other things he would’ve liked to see happen with the store, he’s glad that Hy-Vee is still a prominent fixture in this town. Kids start their working careers there, county residents do their shopping there, and to the citizens of Tarkio, it will also be known as their “hometown Hy-Vee.” And Kalvin will always be known as the face of Hy-Vee, in the hearts and minds of all who have stepped foot inside.
An open house celebration will be held for Kalvin at Hy-Vee Friday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is invited to come congratulate Kalvin on his retirement.